On Visiting the Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

I have come to collect the various species of America:
    ruby-spotted, tigers, kites & pipevines — an armory
of wings & two-week bodies. The room swells openly
    & I ascend to the top — 

              I am separate from the boy
                 who swats persistently.

Tucked in the corner of a window, a white morpho,
    the only kind to perch long enough for me to satisfy
my collecting — its lunar afterglow still hanging
    as I pulse & pace to get a closer look.

I am separate from the boy who climbs a nearby tower
    & shouts for his father.

Perhaps I am half of this — a set of dots for eyes,
    spine for spine, my insides half my father’s — 
half my mother’s. Kuv tus ntsuj plig unlike the fate
    of quick bodies, sovereign cavities, mother
whose torso fell early in harvest — a bed of muscle
    to hold her from splitting in two — 

                                         & do we hear it?

As in a fever the boy runs back & does not see
    the white morpho the way I must see it:
my personal moon stone-ripe in this foreign corner,
    mother as fauna forever — inhuman & gazing.

Then my body a chariot pulled by a pair of orange helicons
    sweeping towards the main water feature (complete with koi).

This place in which I dream the new body — whole & abiding — 

    I am reaching for the boy now as warden to both the living
& the afterliving — the privilege in every gesture — like mother’s
    first gifts: name & citizenship, poetry always in departure,
the song about the moon falling over, fast in flames —