Forget the Song by John James

I specified said light on the ladybugs, their dead shells accumulating on the

windowsill. What is better—exodus or testament. What comes first, the

thought or the word, the word or desire—ash trees wilting by the creek.

In the beginning, every thing is whole. My daughter cuts her first tooth.

Then sound, it’s jarring simplicity—I catch her mouthing for words. She

sighs, she fidgets. She coos in the dark, in the room where she never




  Rain spatters the window.


    I try to understand fiber


  optic cable—light slowed to the pace


    of material transfer, the hair


  thin glass for medical imaging.


    I look toward the sun—light


  travels through air. It fills


    the blood in my hand. Days


  grow short, the warped


    oak stands, whorl


  of whorls, the wood


    equivalent of an ear. Daughter,


  danger—everything is danger.


    The marble dropped


   on the floor. The instability


    of a bookcase (in the most non-


   metaphysical terms). I spend


    the morning thinking


   about sound, how it registers


    muffled from the corner


   opposite its origin,


    thus the introduction


   of error, the flaw


    in the perceiving tool.


We think, we sense, we are—life opens it opens it is / breaking.

Open, the serviceberry bud shoots its seed. Light knives

the leaves, their cells. Where, I think, are the monarchs—orange

flames ablaze. It’s been one of those weeks. Working

the garden this morning I unearthed a pale bug, groped

for a name—“white grub worm.” I watched it wriggle on the surface

until I shaped the dirt mounds, buried it somewhere in the heap.

A black wick curled in the candle’s flame.

Braided cotton converting to ember.

It curls into itself. Today I moved a box

turtle from the road. This was after

a brief rain. The concrete there is warm.

He settled in the grass. Later, beer,

the redbud blossoms. The earth beneath

the blueberry plants is only slightly acidic.

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