James Silas Rogers

James Silas Rogers is a lifelong resident of Minnesota. He lives in a 120-year-old home in St. Paul, from which he walks to work at the University of St. Thomas, where he is managing director of the university’s Center for Irish Studies and editor of the journal New Hibernia Review. In addition to poetry, he has been working on a collection of essays involving burial places and sacred spaces. Portions of that work have appeared in New Letters, South Dakota Review, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, and elsewhere.

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Butterfly in August

Yesterday, cycling down
the east shore of Green Lake
I watched as a Monarch
descended through the whims
of summer air
in that stretch where
Indian Beach Road makes
a furrow in the trees-
where ashes, oaks, and popples
grown over with wild cucumber
and who knows
what other vegetation
leave only a narrow carpet of sky.

The Monarch was falling the way
a mantra slips from the mind,
with the grace of resignation;
tracing the slow arc you see
when, say, a plate
is dropped in the lake-
the way it flashes, rocks, and maybe
turns over for no reason
before it passes, irresistibly,
into the blackness of deep water.
Its wings stroked ineptly
as it rode down in semicurves,
a halting pendulum.