Fluoresce, Coalesce, Deliquesce, Fluoresce
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 dark
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 flesh
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 shining sidewalk.
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 many bodies?
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 coyote?
all the beetles, bugs, spiders, ants, slugs and snails — scales and shiny carapace — falling into each other,
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.