beautiful bloom blooming blossom
	The violets blooming under my apple trees
        make a fine ground cover, 

	although my neighbor on the other side
	of the fence is trying to eradicate

	them from his lawn.  Invasive, he says;
	but native, I reply.

	I tell him about the Fritillaries,
	butterflies so dependent

	on the wild violet that some have not been
	recorded  in over 30 years,

	with a lifecycle so fragile that one wonders
	if they have a grudge against

	reproduction. The males emerge first and
	by the time the females arrive,

	weeks later, they are flight-worn, exhausted.
	The females lay their eggs 

	not on violets but beside violets, hoping their 
	offspring will find their way 

	and overwinter in place.  My neighbor asks,
	Are they pretty?  I want to tell him,

	that they are gorgeous with violet wings
	and yellow ruffled skirts, 

	but I tell the truth--most are golden with dark   
	veins and splotches.

	Some are no bigger than a quarter--beautiful, 
	perhaps, in the eye 

	of the beholder, but most people will never
	notice when they are gone.

Cathryn Essinger

I am the author of five books of poetry--A Desk in the Elephant House, from Texas Tech University Press, My Dog Does Not Read Plato, and What I Know About Innocence, both from Main Street Rag. My fourth and fifth collections--The Apricot and the Moon and Wings, Or Does the Caterpillar Dream of Flight?-- are both from Dos Madres Press.

My poems have appeared in Poetry, The Southern Review, The New England Review, Rattle, New Directions anthologies, Calyx, Terrain and other journals. My poems have been nominated for Pushcarts and "Best of the Net," featured on The Writer's Almanac, and reprinted in American Life in Poetry.

I live in Troy, Ohio, where I raise Monarch butterflies.