Bristlecone Pine

                —with two haiku from Bashō

      by Judy Halebsky

Mission Blue butterflies lay their eggs in lupine
monarchs in milkweed

they migrate 2,400 miles
from the high mountains of Mexico to here
they travel in months and years
they live for six weeks

Mom says, one lifetime isn’t enough

feed me a broth of chanterelles
make me forget with snowmelt and fireweed

butterflies can barely see
so they flutter toward any movement


                 even a long day
                 is not enough singing—
                 for skylarks


remember: by the time they come back
it’s five generations later

pupa, Latin for doll, between a caterpillar and a butterfly

remember: skylarks only sing while flying

remember: each tree has a name

bristlecone pine live for a thousand years
unless there is fire or disease or people near by

sugar pine is named
for the sweet gum
that collects on its trunk
as a way to heal a wound

a butterfly sanctuary isn’t for butterflies
it’s for milkweed and lupine


                                 over the field
                                 clinging to nothing
                                 a skylark sings



From Tree Line, Kalamazoo, Michigan: New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2014.