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Prairie Queen

Under the shadow of the belfry spire,

ferns as spicy as sandalwood

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overarch a velvet ant on parade.

With a glass lizard in the vanguard

and a spangled fritillary bringing up the rear,

she pomps toward the river,

over newts

and under nettles,

attended by a whirligig

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of bumblebees and dragonflies.

Garbed in yellow and imperial red,

wingless

but not stingless,

not an ant at all,

a wasp, in fact,

she marches to the music of chimes from the Chapel.

The Mississippi,

flooding below,

is dimpled and dappled,

dusky with loam

from Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Limestone bluffs beetle vertiginously.

Goggle-eyed,

she cocks her head and peers ...