Earthly Possessions

It doesn’t even seem possible, but on the interstate,
going south, it was August and hot, we saw monarchs,
a few of them, drafting a semi, saw it as we passed
the 18-wheeler, its mudflaps stiff and black, a blink

of orange just like that, and then we were gone.
One round trip above the continent requires several
generations. No one knows how they know the route.
Northbound, returning after leaving our daughter,

her lamp and books and keyboard, her three suitcases
and zippered plastic bag of bedclothes, we felt alone
and hardly talked. I didn’t know what you were thinking.
I was thinking that I didn’t know when we’d return.

The monarchs, I was thinking, were taking a crazy
chance, being pulled like that behind a truck going
who knows where, who knows why, carrying anything,
going anywhere, pulled like that toward home.

About the author

Athena Kildegaard's sixth book of poetry, Prairie Midden, is forthcoming from Tinderbox Editions. Her poetry has recently appeared in Prairie Schooner, december, Beloit Poetry…

Read the full bio

Issue 24 · September 2021

Table of contents