Rachelyn farrell

Research Scientist
Narrative Intelligence Lab
University of Kentucky
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The Monarch and the Swallowwort (Sonnet)

Mid winter freeze, a lonely sweet perennial
rides the breeze that chills her open spiracles.
The journey long, the milkweed worth its cost to her,
she gratefully sticks out her ovipositor.
Then flies away, her eggs to wake in springtime,
to feast on this alluring purple milkweed.
She doesn’t know the secrets of the swallowwort…
This beautiful, invasive Spanish import
which poisons tiny princes upon hatching;
They eat the leaves and die a larva thrashing.
The queen, unknowing, dooms them to extinction,
powerless to make such a distinction.
How sinister! Of that black swallowwort
to masquerade as any other milkweed.