after Arthur Rimbaud and Wyatt Mason

       O for a few more of those pre-trauma days, when life was as dazzling as a piece of raw peridot and all my hours were grass stains and beach glass and sycamore leaves glinting and shifting and iris spears shooting up, up, up!

       And lime cordial, molten peridot, thick and gloopy as time in the bottom of a glass—sliding, coating. And a fresh bruise when a bruise was just a bruise and could fade. And the gloaming when even the gloaming was green—pear-green and freckled sky, mustachioed wisps.

       But he is here too—fission-green flaw deep within the facet—giving off his own glow, blinding, disorientating. A crystal kind of man, polymorph, because he still has something to teach me and I don’t know if I will ever truly learn it.

       Protective stone, keeper-away of evil spirits, where were you when I needed you? His touch was mantle-hot and ruinous; intrusive, extrusive.

       I am always looking for a new frequency—hoping to recover some peridot shard of myself in this lapidary of broken things—but I can only translate what is already here and not transform. Hats off to the crystallographer who is watching chartreuse ions precipitate into livid rocks, I am toxic—petrified ectoplasm—luminously bonded to my past.

Copyright © 2024 by Richard Scott. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 3, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.