Elise Paschen


From milkweed to lupine a woman shadows
a monarch.  Slowly makes her way, conveys

her weight with care.  Inside the womb her son
flutters, then butterfly-kicks against walls.

The woman tracks a trail of burnished wings,
migrating into the heart-notch of forest,

then settles on a lichened tree-trunk where
underground rivers flowing out of snow-

mountain lakes rumble the decree of her
unborn son:  "Journey farther, journey deeper."

Into darker woods she transports a monarch
ruling, even now, unnamed territory.



Elise Paschen is the author, most recently, of The Nightlife (Red Hen Press, 2017), as well as Bestiary,Houses: Coasts, and Infidelities, winner of the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize. Her work has been published in Poetry, The New Yorker, and The Yale Review, among other magazines.She is co-editor of Poetry in MotionPoetry in Motion from Coast to Coast, Poetry Speaks and Poetry Speaks Expanded, and editor of Poetry Speaks to Children and Poetry Speaks: Who I Am. Paschen lives in Chicago with her husband and their two children, and she teaches in the MFA Writing Program at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


Executive Director, 1988-2001

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Poem © copyright Elise Paschen. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with the permission of the author. Poem originally appeared in Bestiary (Red Hen Press, 2009).



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