On Finding Monarch Caterpillars in September

by Kathryn Kirkpatrick

And whatever love a parent
feels stealing bread for a starving
child, I have it as I dig by
the flimsy light of my bargain
headlamp, drive miles for the last
of the chain-store milkweed, which will
feed these ravenous young in their striped
skins, who are no metaphor, who stand for
themselves only, though in my ecological
worry, my long-range fright, I am surely
standing for something as I shovel the dark.

KATHRYN KIRKPATRICK teaches poetry, Irish studies, and environmental literature at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. She is the author of three poetry collections, The Body’s Horizon (1996), Beyond Reason (2004), and Out of the Garden (2007).