Still Life with Milkweed

Now the pods are burst open
by their own soft seeds,

white floss ready to fly. All summer
red and gold flowers

were famous to the monarchs—
their flutter, their stillness,

their soft caterpillars. The larva
inched under garden chairs

to craft Japanese tea house decor,
pale green lanterns

elegant with a gold thread and dot,
full or empty.

They dangle now—glassine envelopes
that once held wings—

everything suddenly sheer.