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.