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.

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?