Like a fly from the air, Christina was zapped
from a crosswalk when she was five,
Rosemary from a highway in Ohio,
Rick from a tennis court. But mostly
it’s a bottom feeder and serves
like Milton’s waitstaff. Though it takes
us personally, it’s impersonal, and it’s no
“they”—about that Brueghel was wrong,
garbing its ghastliness in gangs
of bones and honed appetites.
It’s oceanic, atmospheric, space itself.
Sometimes along the beach a flash
in the surf, a slurry of microbes,
excites me. Or in the woods foxfire
seems to speak to me, and I identify
with its low triumph from the dark.
Seeing blinds me. Having eyes I think
I must have stuff to see. But soon enough
the sump tugs, and I’ll adapt to cave life,
the sumptuous patience of the karst.
Michelle Boisseau whose fourth book of poems, A Sunday in God-Years, was pub- lished in 2009 by University of Arkansas Press (which also published her third, Trembling Air), was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship for poetry in 2010. She tells us that ‘‘while living in London in fall 2010, I climbed the tower of St. Botolph without Aldgate for a lesson in bell ringing on one of its eight bells (the lightest, the treble). I couldn’t get the hang of it, but the master says it takes six months of practice before anyone can be trusted. I believe this is the nerdiest thing I’ve ever done.’’ She is a professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
“Move Along, Nothing to See Here” appears in our Winter 2011 issue.