Truth can indeed be stranger than just about anything. I’d taken the circuit trail around an extinct volcano in southwest Colorado, when about halfway around, I came to a tree with a 4- inch diameter trunk. The tree was coated in a one-bug deep layer of lacquered red — lady bugs — apparently funneled through a pass here, collecting in an artful display.
At the edge of this caldera
in Southwestern Colorado,
a wind-sculpted tree is coated,
wrapped in a sheath of red and black-spotted ladybugs
gathered here where the wind
blows through a long
and undreamed of migration route,
like those maps of flyways
taken by ducks and hawks and songbirds.
But this hidden pathway
is only for six-legged insects
with tiny curved wing-covering red shields
that now make this tree trunk
as jeweled as those cow skulls
trimmed out in dazzling, flat, flaked bits
of semi-precious turquoise.