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
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?