Succession of Danaus Plexippus
The milkweed queen crusades to la montaña de mariposas
for the winter months. Her black and gold robe cuts
through sunlight, guided by antennae compass and DNA GPS;
The cartographer of her three-thousand mile kingdom,
she is south-bound and dying. She rests, she births, and no more.
Mother of a mother of a daughter who will reign over oyamel and pine.
She won’t know how she got there; she won’t remember
50 degrees north or the fist of autumn pushing every wet wing
before her; she will remember, like her mother and her mother
and hers, how to crawl into a chrysalis castle; she will remember
coronation through self-digestion, cell-division, self-destruction.
Preserving the nerves, rearranging the mouth, dawning
the black-veined robe. She will rise from the desert when the axis
shifts and the sun pivots to equinox. She will navigate for her
heirs, to a destination she’ll never meet. She’ll rest, she’ll birth,
and every generation will wonder: when does the body forget?
Bina Ruchi Perino is a University of North Texas post-baccalaureate student, seeking a Bachelor of Arts in English, Creative Writing. Her work can be found in the North Texas Review, The Nassau Review, Sink Hollow, Sonder Midwest, Royal Rose, and more. She lives with her dog Maya.