i. Spring’s First Thunder

The bullroarer call: I know its wellspring,
and bear that dubious privilege
like a child born blind with flashlights
for fingers.

Fluids thaw to course
beneath chitinous shells,
a static of tiny heartbeats
mistaken for
a fervent whisper.

Academic the particular alchemy
of the dragon’s waking yawn,
the prickly ionic unrest
that gathers

as you cleave the unanimous air
to reach for a coffee cup,
eddying motes of dust in
carousel currents;
galvanic accretion

in the reproachful hush of a black dress
as you burrow deeper for warmth.
Then release: tectonic shifts
find voice in

the rustle of eye beneath lid,
and subterranean bruises
surface with a rumble
too low to hear
that rouses the swarms.

ii. Beating the Petty Person

Some insects speak in paper,
composing their glassine houses
of phonemes of hexagons
and empty

space. Thus are we kin;
I pace within these jaws
I spoke myself, awaiting
or a spark.

Every insect chambers a heart,
a rudimentary pump
that squeezes as quickly, as slowly
as mine does.

Caught in these primitive currents,
susurrant almost-blood
shushes, then sighs when loosed
beneath the shoe
of an honest crone.

Some insects can, and do,
invert their pulses
at will. By this we are

though both woken by thunder,
ground under heel, chased
into the mouths of tigers
born from out of
the mouths of wasps.

(Part i first appeared in JUKED issue 9; ii first appeared in the 2009 issue of RHINO)