A flock of starlings: murmuration—
the sound confers a form upon the alive.
The way a weathered wooden fence summons
a face. Some bees are polylectic, like lies,
feeding on anything that blooms. The sweets
and nectar collected in the hive, altered;
a golden substance made from plants and trees
as whispers brake the wild horse to a canter.
Water shaking in a well tracks in lines.
Ground disgorges what we give it, bone
and consonants, in measured hesitations.
Language, uncomprehending, speaks; the mind,
in comprehending, locates a tone. Then
after Cormac McCarthy
As if what’s done could shrug and change its mind,
one pit breathed for days. A heaving form.
Shot, thrown into trenches, and set afire,
the buried alive writhed like flies, like worms.
Now, flat lands. Miles and miles of silence, fenced,
where noble feelings search for noble acts.
Ants, locusts, crickets—a swarm intelligence
transmits data in pheromones and clicks.
A bright sun obscures angles in the road.
Blink—after-images inside the eyes,
bodies rejiggered to holograms.
The sound of wind the closest thing to words.
Reduced to chemicals, memory simplifies,
stories empty; hearts desiccate to sand.
Boyer Rickel is the author of remanence (Parlor Press: 2008), Taboo, essays (Wisconsin: 1999), arreboles (Wesleyan: 1991), and a poetry chapbook, reliquary (Seven Kitchens Press: 2009). His poems have been published recently or are forthcoming in Antennae, CUE, Laurel Reviewand Seneca Review. Information on these and other publications can be found at boyerrickel.com. Recipient of poetry fellowships from the NEA and Arizona Commission on the Arts, he has taught in the U. of Arizona Creative Program since 1991.