Asclepias_sp._flowers_(Marshal_Hedin)

"Childhood" by Debra Bruce appeared in The Atlantic in April 2004:

Exiled once, allowed back in
to guide you through,
I didn't know my time was up.
But by the river, in snapping grass,
still in the habit of noticing,
crouching with you at a leaf or wing,
I spotted caterpillar frass
speckling milkweed as he feasted,
getting ready to split, released
from a too tight self. In just a week
he'd grow a better, brasher skin.
Exiled once, allowed back in,
I leaned down in the snapping grass,
but stopped at the thud of your new voice:
Come on. Big deal. So what.

(Photo: California Milkweed by Marshal Hedin).

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