Driving through fog
when the fog thickens
& I find myself inside a body
covering my skin
inside the body I’ve invaded
with ashen wings
inside hydrogen violas
a bridge that enters
of this body
I could just as well
be strolling beneath
a gas lamp
on the streets
a terrible misery
with poor souls
in a Bosch painting
of spiritual proportion
& still in fact
on this road
DUSK IN MARYLAND
A robin splashes his orange across the maples.
Dusk with a white rag tied around its head
strolls through our neighborhood.
Birds are elaborate
this time of day,
whistling across fences,
exchanging idle gossip.
As darkness enters maple leaves
I enter the long grass while clinging
to the hind leg of an industrious mosquito
who tips his Ascot felt cap
& tugs his ashen collar
when I ask him exactly
what year of the universe
we’re living in.
He muses, “Reisterstown is vast;
rumors rule the day!”
Allamanda flowers vibrate the green eyelid
of a humid afternoon.
Their yellow whispers
are delicate membranes.
Bronze butterfly floats the length
of your body,
your legs of glass,
your left elbow bent like a chameleon’s triangle head,
your torso of startled mockingbirds.
A three-quarters moon wriggles free
from the worsted wool pocket
of a mango sky.
Warm breeze irritates a dry frond.
Rough yellow billows the stamen of a red hibiscus.
Cicadas encircle the afternoon’s waist—
as they shake their bloody castanets,
brunette rattlesnakes fall from palm trees.
A viceroy butterfly weaves waxen leaves
beside tiny star-shaped yellow flowers & etches
its wild shadow against a faded fence board.
Waving a black arrow, a blue jay shatters civilization
when he shifts from powerline
to lemon tree
with unconscious ease.
The blazing hips of the red hibiscus
open wide to receive rippling heat.
From their nests the purple tongues
of sabre plants compete for humidity
as tiny white flowers leap from their green throats.
Mature pink mandevilla flowers devour
the cracked white paint of a wooden post
that supports an aluminum swan-necked mailbox.
ENLIGHTENED BY BLUE METAPHYSICS
Deep sobs drop from elephant clouds.
Eventually there are no clouds,
no bearded thunder,
only the blue that floods the iris of a feral white cat,
her other eye a sapphire scarab
sifted from an Egyptian tomb.
Perhaps a Platonic blue that engenders
the wrath of Blake, since no one
has ever experienced this mythical color?
Perhaps a Renaissance angel balanced
upon the oxidized copper shoulder
of a slender woman once married
to a successful textile merchant?
Despite enlightenment by blue metaphysics,
sobs fall in clumps around thick shadows
causing us to lift our feet for fear of crushing
these gourd like jellyfish of grief.
In broad daylight, we form innumerable witnesses
like ants with cargo strapped to our backs—
by the thousands we hang upside down
as others join us to link a human bridge
swaying just above our dangerous earth.
Alan Britt, Registerstown, Maryland