Before we go to the zoo, I memorize butterfly names from the books in my grandfather’s library. Tiger swallowtails, yellow and black, their wings majestic as they take flight from an aspen tree. Migrating monarchs drink from lupines.
Xerces blues exist only on paper, their permanent home on page 27, “Insects of San Francisco .” I slip the book back on the shelf and wish that someone had rescued the blues.
My grandfather is ready to cycle with me to the tram. He wears a kerchief over his nose to block the dust. “Used to be they lived in my fields.”