After Saturday’s poem, Nothing Subtle, someone wished for a poet at their fingertips. I say be careful what you wish for.
The poet at your fingertips was once
a garter snake wrapped tail in mouth
around a thigh before coming undone
and slithering away to writhe through
other shapes and forms: thistles and thorns;
theories of dark matter and missing mass;
the yellow beak of a gull, its autumn cry
over the empty November harbour at dawn;
the iridescent greens and blues of two
dragonflies synchronized in mating flight
over shallow black water between the dunes,
and the red-winged blackbird’s beak
snapping closed empty behind their turns.
The poet at your fingertips once gathered
dried wild rosehips and scattered seeds
along the edges of capes and riverbanks,
waited years for petals to fall pale on
late summer nights for the wind to blow
over the water, fragments of a broken moon
ringing metallic against the darkness.
The poet at your fingertips stalks lilacs
in winter and mumbles after magnolias
all through the bright autumn, breathes
only remembered scents and imagined
fragrances. The poet at your fingertips
counts syllables like a panhandler
out of smokes, tries word after word in
each place like an old man at a jigsaw
puzzle, is hoarse as a crow and liable to
come down with laryngitis at any moment.