Sunday, August 4, 2019

ALESSANDRA LYNCH - “Funeral: For Us His Gold”

                   after Gerald Stern

The insect was yellow with crumpled-black banded legs
         and shellacked back that would outlast us
         and wistful eyes from what I could discern on that trail between
              fields,
and we laid him out in the open air under a sky fast-blue with change,
              wedging
         a leaf beneath his triple-belted belly so he didn’t rest on plain dirt,
         and we placed two cloverblooms by his head and he was old
you said, could tell by how definite the stripes were, how complete
         the patterns bold and dark, almost engraved,
and he was beautiful in that pasture of thirty-three cows and we drank
         milk in the blaring heat and ate the cake you’d made. We were
         the only humans there—unholy-seeming things with two legs,
              dismal histories—
drinking and eating around his elegant husk,
         and from the furze, fellow insects rose, a frenzied static around
              our bodies,
while he remained in situ an unremitting yellow, the color more
         vivid, louder now that he was a remnant. Was color the purpose
              here?
Yellow had alerted us to him, and we took care
         with leaf and clover to make his bed.
The insect’s gold our togetherness, its death from which we fed.

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