That strange flower, the sun,
Is just what you say.
Have it your way.
—Wallace Stevens, “Gubbinal”
Three hundred times as heavy as our sun.
The Bubble Observer scientists report
buzzing and whizzing and gesturing in a ball
of swollen crimson gas burning standingl
ike a braintrust of firebrands and cake batter.
See the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
for updates, they say. This gubbinal—R136a1—sits around the house,
a rich tanned coot at the corner of Magellanic Cloud
and Shalimar’s Dowry, 165,000 light years in mystery
beyond the Milky Way.
The CN Tower casts its ex-cathedra shadow by day,
recently suited with LED lights, red and purple.
With the moxy of a junior vampire,
they stroke the shaft with abandon;
that is, aggregating the infrared of the city
and taking possession even as markets drain
the sweet sad drainage of abandoned wives.
A motive pure as sunrise, sure as sunset.
Watch the flick of green and greedy gold on a deerfly:
a glittering buzz we still don’t understand.
—after Lavinia Greenlaw
Moths feather your far gazebo
like young sailors on first leave.
You know something, and keep reminding me
of my own needs. You see an audience
of blooming heads and sugared bank notes,
and act accordingly. The swallows see it at five o’clock,
a Wolfman’s tragedy.
They hang themselves upside down,
handsome sienna prizes in the semaphore of bats.
Swayed by a summer night, I swing out
to your silk pocket square standing at attention,
a bird about-face. You’re the dark dew on the green grass of home.
The walking stick insect was a late childhood horror.
That July night, a squib on me from the natural world
scaled the wall as a vampire under the porch light,
ugly as an umbrella’s disrobing.
Moths, with brown wings the prize of
Asian fan-makers, pestered it like paparazzi.
Hoping to forget its awful likeness and presence,
I gave night-deep chase:
all twelve or so flirting shutterbugsre
grouped at the ha-ha,
honoured their lives were spared by a virtue of brevity.
That Peruvian familiar, a race almost entirely female,
had come down from the Morello cherry long after sunset;
after the plums turned the humid blue they want to be,
after trees sighed and inhaled the nearby jasmine, blooming
them nightly to dream-lives as smooth-complected date palms
for some caliph’s odalisque
or the low-stress Oregonian monkey puzzles,
a species whose softly-prickled, rounded shoehorn limbs
propose new varietals of orgasm.
Those giants, waving in their best Isadore Duncans,
know the poseurs well, the little stand-ups
fashioned after their mutineered twigs. Given half a chance,
the clowns would not walk at all, nor meander,
perambulate or otherwise imitate
Wordsworth or Nietzsche. Like the wives of 17th century
men of garden science, they loiter and loll
between vivarium and cabinet of curiosity,
dividing their time between joy and sloth.