Monarch

by Kathleen Radigan
Featured Art: Actaeon Nude – Jean Antoine Watteau

In the garden I cup a hand
before you, strain my wrist,
willing you to perch.

A nearby woman grips her cane.
“Young lady. If you touch them,
they die.”

Born again from a gauze
coffin, you’re blackwinged,
fragile on a wax leaf.

In the heat
of a weeklong life
you batter between

fluorescents and dahlias, legs
thinner than wires,
and float over tendriled

chrysanthemum heads.
Tease everything—hands,
canes, stem, with a feathery

suggestion. I want
to chew you.
Taste the metallic

powder of each wing.
If only to become
so beautiful

that being
touched just once
would kill me.


Kathleen Radigan grew up in Rhode Island, then got a BA in English from Wesleyan University and an MFA in Poetry from Boston University. She is interested in the intersections between theater, poetry, and community engagement. Her poems have been published in The Antigonish Review, The Adroit Journal, Dialogist, The Academy of American Poets, and several other journals. She lives in Brooklyn, where she teaches English. Her website is kathleenradigan.com.

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