Bruce Lader
November 2011

A sough in the leaves brushing blue
      every so often, like susurrant surf
below cliffs, as if the swarms of monarchs
      mingling migration out of November sky
to winter in this eucalyptus stand
      are gossamer fans wafting the aroma
of menthol on occasional breezes,

      wings swirl like snow that never
comes to the mild southern California
      coastal mesa where, navigating
meridians of light, they return
      from Canada, swim like goldfish,
an agile tide of myriad wings carried
      on warm currents of cloudless air,

they cluster tiger camouflage
      over tree columns, long dovetailing
beards stream Byzantine branches
      like strange wisteria, a soundless throng
festoons the woods, then pulsing flames
      gather lingering rays of persimmon sun,
enfold their journey in dormant night.

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