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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,


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.


she cocks her head and peers ...