Here’s the road-weary team in the Sierra Chincuas,
their white utility van disgorging lawn chairs
and computers, skillets, guitars, and atomic scales,
cases of toilet rolls and a machine engineered
for the gradual freezing of monitored butterflies.
Here, a sun-drenched valley sealed in a paperweight.
Someone has shaken it, and ragged, piebald flakes
litter the sky all the way to the Caribbean.
And look, someone has woven a raiment of breath
in ebony and gold and with it draped a corner
of the forest primeval, tucking every contour.
Have you heard the one about the flock hovering
in the shape of a tree, their wings’ leaves rustling
with certain wind, and the hunter, sure he’d seen birds
moments before, unsquints his aim, scratches
his head, and trudges over the hill homeward?
And here, in the researcher’s dream, she approaches,
her bare skin powdered with a crystalline dust
the shade of snapdragons and sweet on his tongue
as confectioner’s sugar, her stained-glass wings
pulsing above him, her shuddered breath spilling
a batik of moonlight across the forest litter.
In closing, the graphed data suggest body-water’s
hazardous, hastening the onset of the "Freezing Event,"
this final spike of heat the soul’s flight.
Copyright © 2002 Jeffrey Franklin. All Rights Reserved.