When I can’t sleep,
fluttering awake from old and new worries, bad dreams,
I try to count to a thousand by sevens.
Just enough concentration to slow my heart
to a gentle opening, closing,
as on a flower in the sun,
safe, and all alone.
I try to count until the numbers lose meaning.
I have never counted to
two hundred fifty thousand
two hundred eighty thousand
three hundred thousand
three hundred forty thousand
four hundred thousand
five hundred eighty five thousand
Not by sevens.
Not by anything.
When I wake up,
having survived another day,
I check the new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.
I get ready to Zoom with my scouts
with a guest who will teach us about butterfly migration,
about the generational memory of the species
that compels great-great-grandchildren home.
I try to count on my community
and follow my own unassailable Knowing;
I believe I will find something on the other side of
making it through this.
It has been a long time, now,
waiting all alone in my chrysalis apartment
as I slowly turn to a liquid and reform.
And I wonder,
when the monarchs make their way down to Mexico
and bend the boughs of trees with their numbers,
do they dream about the ones who didn’t finish the journey?
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