The queen grows fat beneath my house while drones infest the walls reconnaissance to feed her glut, wood ripped from studs and joists. I’ll pay to drill the slab and ruin her pestilential nest. How to find the song in this day’s summons? I’ve been accused of darkness by my inner light. My brother sits in the chemo chair another long day of toxic infusion, the house of his body— bones, brain and balls gone skeltering. I sit in my parked car listening to Robert Plant recall how the English envied the Americans for getting the blues, getting all of it, into song. I remember the dream where brother and sister, adult and equal, lean and white as lilies, as bare, dove into a mountain lake, black water, high elevation, fir trees growing in flood water that had joined two lakes into one. Do you ever dream of animals, I ask him, hospice bed looking out on a plywood squirrel perched on cement block wall. Frequently. A lilt of surprising joy. What kind? Mostly the jungle animals. Then: I’m going to do my exercises now. What exercises? I like pacing, he said, immobilized upon his death nest of nine pillows. Then he closed his eyes to become the inward one whose only work was to wear a pathway back and forth within his enclosure.
Some did not want to alter the design
when the failure message
said massive problem with oxygen.
Some wanted to live full tilt with risk.
By then we were too weak for daily chores:
feeding chickens, hoeing yams,
calibrating pH this and N2 that . . .
felt like halfway summiting Everest.
We didn’t expect the honeybees
to die. Glass blocked the long-wave
light that guides them.
Farm soil too rich in microbes
concrete too fresh ate the oxygen.
We had pressure problems,
recalibrating the sniffer. Bone tired
I reread Aristotle by waning light.
Being is either actual or potential.
The actual is prior to substance.
Man prior to boy, human prior to seed,
Hermes prior to chisel hitting wood.
I leafed through Turner’s England,
left the book open at Stonehenge.
A shepherd struck by lightning lies dead,
dog howling, several sheep down too.
The painter gave gigantic proportion
to sulphurous god rimmed clouds
lightning slashing indigo sky
while close at hand lie fallen stones
dead religion, pages dusty
brown leaf shards gathering
in the gutter yet I cannot turn the page
wondering what I am and when
in the story of life my life is taking place.
Now what. No shepherd. No cathedral.
How is it then that I read love
in pages that lie open before me?