They said a couple of years ago Monarch butterflies are making a comeback of sorts. My nature loving Facebook friends, who notice such things, commented from several locations and posted photos. But before the celebration for the gets out of hand, ecologists, who should know, expressed concerns about long-range climate change, habitat destruction and the particularly egregious bulldozing of the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, a critical preserve, to make way for the Former Resident’s beloved border wall. This year severe drought conditions in Mexico, Texas, and other areas along the Monarch’s long migratory path including northern Illinois has stunted and delayed the growth of milkweed, their only food source.
In 2015 Lisa Haderlein, a McHenry County maven of the environment and preserver and restorer of the wild places posted a photo on Facebook. It was taken outside the Starline Gallery in Harvard. It got me to thinking….Lisa Haderlein's telling photo.
The Lovely Corpse
Monarchs, they say, are a dying breed.
Not the superfluous Royals of Windsor
or oil rich Arabs.
They will disappear, too,
in their own good time
but are not our business here today.
I am talking about those golden orange and black
zephyr riding marvels that by the millions
used brighten Septembers
with hints golden autumn yet to come
on their epic migrations
from Canadian prairies
to Mexican piney woods.
They are scarcer with every passing year.
Now each sighting is an adventure
like spotting some rare songbird
flitting unexpectedly from bough to bough.
They say the warming world is to blame
which is tough on common milkweed,
the migrant’s only diet.
But if I say it aloud,
some Fox News talking head
will scream that I’m a liar and a fraud
and someone will decide that after all
they are illegal immigrants
and likely terrorists to boot
and propose to build a wall net
to ensnare them lest they
infect our purity.
A friend of mine espied one the other day
and thought to snap a photo,
but the monarch was not on wing
or resting on some rare milkweed pod,
but splatted against the gleaming grill
of a Jaguar.
Think of all that horsepower
from the carbon spewing engine
that cooks the atmosphere
that kills the milkweed
yet made this assassination