The Monarch Egg

Carrie Carter


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On the omnipotent side of the flying buttresses of the National Cathedral
I discover the milkweed stand while the priest passes with a weathered brow
and a finger holding a page in his softened bible.

Asclepias syriaca
Danaus plexippus
factorem caeli et terrae
visibilium omnium et invisibilium

What story could better form the myth of God: 3,000 miles with death along the way,
to find your kin and build a world of children. Thistledown wings, fierce in the wind,
carrying a lone butterfly to nothing except the possibility of genetics remaining.

The priest does not meet my gaze when he passes.
It is late in the day and he is in the business of answering questions.
God asks much of us: asks all of us to fold down onto our own flower
like the skin of the pomegranate in the Bishop’s Garden glowing as red as a storm on Jupiter.

The fruit on the tree is mid-journey, the petals receding into the shell,
the seeds waiting for their day, the way fertility is always waiting for us
to understand that reproduction is only ever a promise of death, not freedom.

On the underside of a single leaf I find one egg, just the one, as green-gold as the sky
in a tornado. Miracles happen even in the storm of human impatience,
all along the miles of reason that God gives each of us:

a butterfly surviving for only one season, a pomegranate knowing it only exists to be eaten,
an anxious priest, a poet, a plant, a tiny egg full of meaning.

Carrie Carter

is a

Guest Contributor for Panorama.

Carrie Carter is a poet living in Washington, DC. She holds a BA in English from The Ohio State University. Her work is published or forthcoming with Gnashing Teeth Publishing, Troublemaker Firestarter, Humana Obscura, and elsewhere. Her chapbook High Water was published by Quillkeepers Press in May 2023. She is a member of the Newark Street Community Garden, the DC Beekeepers Alliance, and the National Writers Union. Carrie can be found on X and Instagram @ancestorregime.