Today's Slice also doubles as a poem for ethicalela.com 's Verselove,
an April poetry writing opportunity for educators.
Sheri Vasinda's prompt is a "how to be" poem, a la Barry Lane,
on an informational topic--a wonderful way to write across the curriculum!
Since I am "midwifing monarchs" on my back patio, facts were easy to come by.
How to Be a Monarch Butterfly
Feel your striated egg
at the base of a milkweed leaf
start to strain as you grow.
Bust out, eat that egg shell
then get to work eating that leaf
Don’t leave that plant–
unless you eat it all,
and move to its sister.
When your skin gets too tight,
molt–and eat that, too.
Do that several times
for a few weeks,
until you feel
the urge to change.
Now you can leave the plant
search for a place to hang out.
Make a little white knot of silk
attach your back end to it
slowly lower yourself, head-down
and arch that back until you make a J.
Relax for a few hours, until….
You feel something inside about to burst.
Skin splitting, wriggle it up and off.
Twirl and wiggle, twirl and wiggle
until that silken cord is strong
and your new green chrysalis
begins to contract, harden
displaying beautiful golden spots.
Hang out, until you feel (again!)
the urge to bust out,
the green now transparent
your dots on display.
Head first, into the world
holding on tight to that empty husk
pumping fluid into those magnificent wings.
And when they are full, and you are ready,
fly off to feed, find a mate and a milkweed plant
and lay some beautiful, tiny, striated eggs.