Beyond the Milkweed


It was her birthday.
She was only five
the dawn we went out
to look at roses
in Grandma’s garden
while everyone else
was sleeping.
She loved them all
every color
but stooped the way
little girls do
and pointed to
wings of a Monarch
on the ground
splayed by death
fresh with dew
underneath milkweed
Grandma planted
just last Spring
for Monarchs
to lay their eggs.
She asked if
it would fly away
and I said no.
Monarch mothers
I explained
lay their eggs
in milkweed
and then sleep.
That’s why
she and I
must be careful
not to make a sound
as we tip-toe
over there to the roses
Grandma planted
beyond the milkweed
just last Spring
just for her.

By Donal Mahoney
Monarch Butterfly in child's hands


Donal Mahoney, a native of Chicago, lives in St. Louis, MO. He has worked as an editor for The Chicago Sun-Times, Loyola University Press and Washington University in St. Louis. Read more of his poems in Eye on Life Magazine here.

Photo by Shawn Roberts

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