Fluoresce, Coalesce, Deliquesce, Fluoresce alternate version
Divine friction of things inhabiting each other streams light down the narrow darkness of
channels and loosens the soul’s sphincters’ strictures.
Yesterday I saw a dying bee, ground-bound in a shaft of sun, struggling, its abdomen writhing in
circles, staggering toward a fallen sprig of wilting privet flowers.
It fell on its side, lay still for a time, roused and tottered a few inches more, collapsed by the
twig, on the scattered petals, became still, giving back the light.
And I remember it this morning, walking the neighborhood before sunrise, sunk in the last of the
while above me, a silvery salmon-pink contrail seems to draw itself out of nothing
to nothing, and the gnat at its head flashes in the oblique sun, still below my horizon.
And then I remember how the earth turns by the way the sun first strikes the top of the ridge,
then crawls down the blue-green serpentine and grass, pouring over houses, trees and yards, then
warm on the back of my neck.
The plane enters a different climate, loses its trail, becomes a dull speck fading into the blue, its
far mumble drawn thin, tapering to silence.
And a murder of black-shining crows passes over on their business, fluttering down to the street, around a car-crushed snake, gather around it, heads darting into the corpse, yanking red strips of
grumbling at each other while one perches high in the sun on a telephone pole crosspiece keeping
watch while I pass under,
cocks a black sequin eye down at me, caws once, hunches down and decides to ignore me,
waiting its turn.
And among a liquidambar’s five-point leaves’ autumn conflagration, a red-tail hawk pins a
sprawled dove to a branch with her scaly talons.
When she dips her beak to its chest, plucked naked-pink and slashed, her wings droop and
wimple the dove.
The living dove doesn’t struggle, stunned by that feral glory, submits, complicit in the slow
shredding toward its heart.
In the shadows under the tree, night’s remaining rags tangle in undergrowth, strewn with plucked
feathers that cover the ground, some still drifting down.
Then the hawk closes her switchblade talons, spreads her wings shedding light and rises with the
lolling, lovestruck dove.
She disappears where the trees bend and billow, their leaves cupping the sun in the rising
morning wind, trailing her scream.
And last night’s rain has brought out snails, driven them into a leisurely stampede across the
There’s a small pomegranate tree with fruit flaming red in the slanting sun, festooned with snails that
have climbed its branches and sit along them like shiny brown fruit, their tentacled
eyes extruded and pointed lightward.
I have come upon a molluscoid sacrament: the night’s cold rain followed by sun’s
worship-worthy warmth when one lives close to the ground and the whole melting world
could fail at any moment.
And in the brightening field beyond, under the high grass caught between brown and gold — how
A woodchuck dead in its burrow? the remains of a squirrel strewn by a hawk? or a lizard that lay
basking, taken by a cat? the cat itself throat-slashed, caught in an inattentive moment by a
all the beetles, bugs, spiders, ants, slugs and snails — scales and shiny carapace — falling into each
stirred and stewed by rain and sun, serenaded by the deliberate music of the worms’ subterranean
ways, threshed and milled by earth’s slow pestle and wind’s soft stroke,
become soil themselves, rising in the choral heat of their dissolution, rising in the brightness of
their indiscriminate, polygamous, promiscuous decay, rising and rising in light to meet
the rising sun.
David Kann teaches Modern poetry, poetry workshop and American literature at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. His chapbook, "The Language of the Farm," won the Five Oaks Press chapbook award in 2015. His second chapbook, "At Fernald School," is forthcoming.