These tall—taller than me if today I sit
among them—chandelier weeds, all filament
invisible up from the forest floor more
than a yard away I thought yesterday were
waiting for their moment in the season to unsheathe
whatever torches they would at the far, upward
tips of their muted spray; but coming out
again in the afternoon the wait had been, I saw,
for their moment in the day, to open asters,
perfect sunny fives haphazard in the air,
map pins on a dream-warm itinerary
and every outpost a starry capital.
Every night another year in our prime and
every year a span primeval underground
where the odyssey yet is a closed calendar.

Dear AI, show me a calendar in
a chandler’s workshop, show me his
apprentice when he believes himself
alone, show me what happens upon him,
who he feels himself become when through
the cell window the sun through a canopy
warms his brow, cheek, neck, and clavicle.
Show me at his early mouth a flare
if he feels it awakening, plump
and firm and sensitive, seeking, and the tallow,
too, responsive in its redolence
in its vessel, warm bellied and daylit.
Is it a low country, is it renaissance, and
who is the smith or athena of this?

Copyright © 2023 by Brian Blanchfield. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 4, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.