Counting What the Cactus Contains
By Pattiann Rogers
Elf owl, cactus wren, fruit flies incubating
In the only womb they'll ever recognize.
Shadow for the sand rat, spines
And barbary ribs clenched with green wax.
Seven thousand thorns, each a water slide,
A wooden tongue licking the air dry.
Inside, early morning mist captured intact,
The taste of drizzle sucked
And sunsplit. Whistle
Of the red-tailed hawk at midnight, rush
Of the leaf-nosed bat, the soft slip
Of fog easing through sand held in tandem.
Counting, the vertigo of its attitudes
Across the evening; in the wood of its latticed bones --
The eye sockets of every saint of thirst;
In the gullet of each night-blooming flower -- the crucifix
Of the arid.
In its core, a monastery of cells, a brotherhood
Of electrons, a column of expanding darkness
Where matter migrates and sparks whorl,
And travel has no direction, where distance
Bends backward over itself and the ascension
Of Venus, the stability of Polaris, are crucial.
The cactus, containing
Whatever can be said to be there,
Plus the measurable tremble of its association
With all those who have been counting.
I love the way nature is a cathedral in this poem though that happens in a lot of Rogers' poetry -- she even wrote one called "The Wren in the Cathedral." Photos of natural patterns taken with electron microscopes always make me feel more religious than anything in synagogue. Was discussing with my younger son today the fact that matter is mostly empty space, something he had apparently read at school; he is very interested in the esoteric though he can't be bothered to do repeated multiplication problems. Can't say I blame him. He is so very different from the older one in that regard -- the older one always wanted to be able to do the most in the least time!
We all watched "The Trouble With Tribbles" together tonight because the older one wanted to do a puzzle and the only one we had in the house that he hadn't ever done was a 1000-piece original Trek puzzle that someone had given me as a gift years ago, which put us in the mood. You know, I'd forgotten how damn funny that episode is. Then we had to watch "Trials and Tribbleations" too, and although they have seen more DS9 over the years than the original series, I do not think they were impressed by the juxtaposition at all. It's so much fun to share Trek with my kids though...something my father and I always shared too.
I'm sending love and vibes out to perkypaduan -- she knows why -- and am going to see juleskicks and lohowarose for lunch so I am feeling very lucky! My kids have half-days of school the next two days, and my mother is out of town visiting my sister so I will be relatively occupied with family things and teacher conferences. I feel so domestic.