Monarch

by Kathleen Radigan

Featured Art: Abstraction on Concrete by Howard Dearstyne

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.

 


Originally appeared in NOR 25

Kathleen Radigan holds a BA from Wesleyan University and an MFA from Boston University. Her work has been published by PANK Blog, Carve, the Antigonish Review, the Belladonna* Series, and the Academy of American Poets, among others. She was a fall 2019 Brooklyn Poets fellow, and her first chapbook The Frustrated Ones is forthcoming this spring from dancing girl press. She lives in Brooklyn and teaches writing to gifted  public high school students.

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