Funeral: For Us His Gold

after Gerald Stern

The insect was yellow with crumpled-black banded legs
        and shellacked back that would outlast us
        and wistful eyes from what I could discern on that trail
                between fields,
and we laid him out in the open air under a sky fast-blue with
                change, wedging
        a leaf beneath his triple-belted belly so he didn’t rest on
                plain dirt,
        and we placed two cloverblooms by his head and he was old
you said, could tell by how definite the stripes were, how
                complete
        the patterns bold and dark, almost engraved,
and he was beautiful in that pasture of thirty-three cows and we
                drank
        milk in the blaring heat and ate the cake you’d made. We
                were
        the only humans there—unholy-seeming things with two
                legs, dismal histories—
drinking and eating around his elegant husk,
        and from the furze, fellow insects rose, a frenzied static
                around our bodies,
while he remained in situ an unremitting yellow, the color more
        vivid, louder now that he was a remnant. Was color the
                purpose here?
Yellow had alerted us to him, and we took care
        with leaf and clover to make his bed.
The insect’s gold our togetherness, its death from which we fed.

More by Alessandra Lynch

Meditation on Rain

In a blue collusion of dusk
and rain, the sky’s darkly shaking
like horsetails flicking

                off bloodflies. As you’d try
switching off half-truths that fed
on your skin, their little bites
                distracting you
from harder pain.

                Nothing a hoof could gallop from. Nothing to ride here
but air
                coolly passing from stable to woods—
each leaf a perforated heart—

to the front porch of the blue house. As you ascend,
                the steps darken behind you, night
has its own quiet stepping—it is not
                an abyss, not amorphous
as once you felt—.

How wavery the rain at the threshhold—

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Day of Grief

I was forcing a wasp to the top of a window
where there was some sky and there were tiger lilies
outside just to love him or maybe only
simply a kiss for he was hurrying home
to fight a broom and I was trying to open
a door with one hand while the other was swinging
tomatoes, and you could even smell the corn
for corn travels by wind and there was the first
hint of cold and dark though it was nothing
compared to what would come, and someone should mark
the day, I think it was August 20th, and 
that should be the day of grief for grief
begins then and the corn man starts to shiver
and crows too and dogs who hate the wind
though grief would come later and it was a relief
to know I wasn't alone, but be as it may,
since it was cold and dark I found myself singing
the brilliant love songs of my other religion.