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

sleeps.

   —

 

  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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