Endangered Species

Dan Beachy-Quick

Even this
brief thought is endless. A
man speaks as if unaware of the
erotic life of the ampersand. In the
isolate field he comes to count one by
one the rare butterflies as they
die. He says witness is to say what
you mean as if you mean it. So many
of them are the color of the leaves
they feed on, he calls sympathy a fact, a
word by which he means to make a claim
about grace. I have in my

life said many things I did not
exactly mean. Walk
graceless through the field. Graceless so
the insects leap up into the blank
page where the margins fill
with numbers that speak diminishment.
Absence as it nears also offers astonishment.
Absence riddles even this
briefest thought, here
is your introduction to desire, time’s
underneath where the roots root down
into nothing like loose threads
hanging from the weaving’s underside.
No one seeing the roots
can guess

at the field above. Green
equation that ends in yellow
occasions. Theory is
insubstantial. The eye latches on
to the butterflies as they fly
and the quick heart follows, not
a root in nothing but a thread across
abstraction. They fly away.
What in us follows we do not name.
What the butterflies pull out us
as in battle horses pull
chariot, we do not

name. But there is none, no battle,
no surge, no retreat, a field
full not of danger, but the endangered,
where dust-wings pull from us
what we thought we lost, what theory
denies, where in us ideas go to die,
and thought with the quaking grass quakes.
Some call it breath but I’m still breathing.
So empty I know I’m not any emptier.
On slim threads they pull it out me,
disperse—no
one takes notes—disappear, &
 

More by Dan Beachy-Quick

Hariot's Round


     I know, to entice, to convince, I must sing
   Your ear inside stone, must sing
     Gold bitten and true, the corn kernel, one seed, 
       I must plant one gold seed in your mouth with my lips.
Raleigh says: the Queen knows my name. The Crown
       Of a woodpecker is ruby, but shy.
     Inhabitants adorn themselves with feathers, and feathers
   Bright on arrow ends. Bow--before a Queen. Bend closed my book.
The page is deaf that turns back to look at what it found.

This Nest, Swift Passerine [excerpt]

But how find how as it flew onward
& the mountains gave back the sound
to say what I mean the call of the bird
& the echoe after to say I've seen?

Raven hungers and calls and the mountain
Hungers back and calls
The whole range of peaks in the bird's beak.
Raven lonely and the mountain rings
Loneliness & the echoe after we could see
him no longer 

The echo after we could see 	Light in echo the eye sees
also through the ear 		a double infinity

Heroisms, 4, 5

4.

I speak these words directly into his yawn

Open cave of
                    his dark almost kind
                                                  of fire-lit mouth 


And the shadows there my words form these shadows
In the back of the hero's throat

A world we applaud where chained to the ground
We watch the trees walk past us. There are other ways to describe the year:

Seasons of
The hero's boredom. 


5.

Where the horror is comparison, honor sees
Hands in the trees instead of leaves—

Honesty asks why the applause is so quiet
When the wind blows so hard—

Breath is the atmosphere at utmost extreme
Where the lungs are flowers—thought the dew—

The sun doubts everything, a general statement
In whose light the hero sees these helpless things

Beg mercy, beg darkness for obscurity—
We do not comprehend the awe, it comprehends us—

When leaves fold in halves they look sleepy
Like eyes, but these eyes are fists

Related Poems

from “Origin”


you are
formed for the
contingent spaces
for stamens withered
and the particulars visited
you are
migrating to the distant
considering the many
and imagined
but some which veil green
by so long an immersion
you
are measured
and cut
and cut again