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Thirty-Six and a Half


The fantasies and phantasms of youth

Have not perished.


Like me,

They have dissolved and assimilated themselves.

They have restructured their anatomies.

They have emerged from their quiescence

Already attuned

To the changing light,

Cumulus-filtered in our tilted revolution, and

To the seasonal rainstorms,

Liberated from the brimful troposphere.

Despite the drought

That baked and cleft the ground

Until the meadows seemed haphazard patterns

Of jagged, un-mortared stepping stones,

Tender floras now emerge from the earth

With inconspicuous voracity.

The grasses have resumed their humble underlying.

Invisible spores yield the mellow feathered ferns

That occupy the shaded recesses along the perimeter.

Long-dormant bulbs bloom forgotten purples, reds, and blues

As black- and yellow-banded bees disperse pollens of latent life

Among their petal-whorled fragility.

Caterpillars writhe in the industry of ants or

Lend themselves to alchemical metaphor.

Even after all these years,

I cannot comprehend the vastness of the sky.

I cannot grasp more than a handful of earth.

I cannot swallow more than a mouthful of water.

I cannot eat more than bellyful of blackberries.

I face the sun and close my eyes as I did when I was a child.

I feel the incredible warmth and revel in the red-orange that pervades my eyelids.

I see visions of white-washed stone walls,

Wild strawberries with fuzzy stems,

Constellations of mushrooms,

Small white feathers in a carved wooden box,

Marble statues, mended,

Venus with buttermilk arms, smoothed chin and breasts, a left foot,

And the archetypal bearded man, stalwart, before the eons of verdigris-creep,

Cradling me in their arms

Before the altar,

The chest of drawers at the foot of the bed,

Murmuring prayers,

The picture of Jesus staring skyward somberly

As he exited the tomb,

Laying me down to sleep,

Sky-blue and snow-white blanket,

The incredible warmth,

My soul to keep,

The scent of a book,

Grasshopper, ant, fox, crow,


If I should die,

Anthropomorphic shadows,

Fractals of existence,

The history of all things,

Before I wake,

Probiscis still forked and furled,

Oh, lord, where were you? Where are you now?

Dissolving? Digesting? Metamorphosizing?

Fantasies and phantasms

Inhabiting transfigured skeletons, organs, and musculatures,

Nourished by nascent, still nameless nectars,

Synchronized with unholy zeitgebers,


My soul to take.



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