Notes Towards a Nature Poem

It’s your body I feel,
so I need your fingers,
so many pores as to pass this way unnoticed
to be completely transparent,
to read or study with rare and steady attention
in the glow of hypothetical textbooks and monitors.

A globe is buried somewhere under the Earth
that is meant to represent us
as we shift model battleships over a yellowing world atlas
timing our escape
while setting steel traps for animals
that we know will never be
native to this region.

As if
and if I blink,
heavy lids will shut again
eyes will drop away
to give way
to another time.

To hand to a passing
somnolent man,
as a gift,
someone whose eyes are gone,
that now belong
to the stuff of dreams.

Should we peel away
lenses from fish
embed their eyes in the soft mud for him,
contacts pressed indelicately with thumbs
or should we borrow
functioning glasses
from our emptied bottles?

No, we won’t.
However much we could
improve his sight in mega-pixels
from nothing
without anyone knowing.

We could not hear each other
under the sky,
the listening posts are useless,
electricity stopped passing through
the dull grey wires.

We tried to light candles that
wouldn’t light in the wind,
under hoodies concocted
colour gels for spotlights,
tinctures from alcohol,
and whatever we found growing.

Only a picnic blanket covered
a worn, cold patch of ground.

In the woods,
we befriended and loved
a creature

with a pair of
with no eyes below them,

which would have been blue,
and used to drink with us,
the intoxicating air
of the wind farm
on the horizon.

If you want to think “blue”,
think of the reflection on a frozen lake,
of what he remembers as a human
nothing but your muffled voice approaching, quick,
an imagined scarf in the wind.

Neither the wind nor the ice is given that colour
in real life.

The creature whose beautiful eyes
could, if it had them, imbibe water
was now weeping out of the space where –
stick with me –

his eyes would be,
poor “dog”,

we called it,
and he called out to us with
that unimaginative name.

The absence of those orbs and
owl-like eyes!

Blind at the level of
the carved ankle

the feet entrenched,
stood underground like roots,
finally leaving
cavernous footprints
for keeping rain

We’re bare of our leaves –

We have shown our companion
how to misplace belongings,
how to get drunk and
how to sing.

Meanwhile, in the night,
when I had momentarily
forgotten the basic science of
but remembered my dream
and woke up from it;
the conveyer belts of rain and
brushed-away leaves,

and I fear I am, without
an understanding of numbers,
but in this way I am free to marvel at
leaves that fall.

With garments on the ground and
setting fires to keep warm,
a striped shirt, a skirt is alive
when abandoned,
and discovered by squirrels.

Your loneliness is amazing,
in this era, full of everything.
You I entered and merged with
dressed as someone who came to
talk the trees down,
dressed in green.

Emptiness that camouflage could
hide between
if the Rangers became suspicious.

Our “dog” and I,
no eyes to wipe dry,
and with so much dog hair,
sweeps away brown leaves,
like a painter,
and his solemn brush.


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