for Ann Lauterbach

The lamb couldn’t become an iamb
   much to my sorrow, much
to the lamb’s relief. My teacher said
   the ocean hid in anapests,
in the lull of the wave, in the lull
   of the prepositional phrase—
in dreams bright children drown
   diagramming sentences,
dependent on a dependent clause
   for rudder through the rapids,
mesmerized by the solar asterisk
   spinning in the eddy with the
gathering foam, dimly aware
   something remains to be said,
in a, of a, for a, with a, for a, of a, in a
   field of asphodel
their mothers
hear from the dark room’s open door
   in the middle of the night.
Or just one child. Just his mother.
   Just that bedroom an earthquake
could destroy, or a fire burn, just
   that room where, behind closed
eyes, the fire burns, the earth shakes,
   and not a book falls off the shelf,
and not a page is aflame, though
   in the air the scent is singe
of the moon on fire once again.
   In a cave a goddess in echoes
sobs at her son’s fate as her son
   walks into the ocean to wash
the blood from his wrath. Imagine
   in dactyls what the hand can do
it still can do and does worse
   than imagining can fathom.
It can be gentle, too. The mind
   couldn’t become pyrrhic,
much to my sorrow, much to my
   delight. The horse galloping
now in green trochees across the field
   also beds down in a meadow
unseen, its haunch flinching in dream.
   Quickened at external relations
the heart has its spondees that slow
   blood down into thought, slow
into memory so vivid it feels as you
   draw hand to chest your heart
might stop beating. But it’s just an idea
   of death. Not death itself. Not
that drone inside silence so different
   than chaos, like the blue-shift
of quasars inching backward through
   time, like the sun in bronze
on an ancient ring, or a bee hanging
   golden on a hook within the ash
within the urn. The pollen won’t
   quit gathering inside the poem.
Subject to what does not exist
   my teacher told me to submit.
The mind-wings hum in tune, in time.
   Mother, all I want is honey in a hive.

Copyright © 2018 Dan Beachy-Quick. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Winter 2018.