The plants close up, the blooms
get busy rocking themselves to sleep, the hills are outlined, the cold, in-in.
are dressed for bed; those slippered steps make their way
to the indigo robe settling itself over the city’s canoe-like shoulders.
People, gather your stovetops, boil sleek kettles, cram amber honey, begin the routine.
But I hop up. My nicotiana spine bright green. With the whites of my eyes
I’ll attract the moths to me, amble with the pale steed until the orange whale, breaks.
They all lay down—but I’m quick to stand. Should I give the names
of every being who abides by the larks?
I couldn’t. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t dare.
No early birdsong for me. I’ve been hoo-ing well before my mother knew
she was birthing an androgynous child wrapped in silver tules. Everyday
since then, I have been named by every lark worshiper who passes on by.
But I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t dare try
dream to know or give name to you,
you, who sits in gold skies.
What is natural? Is it truth? Do not speak to me of nature
unless you have walked your roads at two a.m., unless you have spread
your toes in black water, and froze, unless you have learned the trees
by touch, and touch alone.
Close the doors up, the human minds
are lulling themselves to sleep, the bedsheets primed, the warmth, held in-in.
are dressed for traveling; soles are prepared for dance.
Rubenesque indigo, begin the drumming, upon the sky’s wide open chest.
People gathered in blankets, people far from wolves, people apart from hyper voles
who sprint under foxes who fall over themselves in the whining bluegrass bowed.
But I hop up. Oh yes! I’m up, I’m up!
Do you know, understand, the coming of the night by your nose?
I do, I do. Oh yes, I do.
And each dark, sways up too briskly, each lunar arc, finished too soon.
2 thoughts on “Nicotiana”
This is such a great piece, a triumph. I’ll be coming back to reread it when I have some quiet time.
Thank you kindly.