Iowa Writes

JACKSON WILLS
From Inter Umbras Arborum, a Pastoral Phantasm-agoria


        1
Spring is the anatomy of light:
the body of the sun widely split
into the camellia's foliate slits,
when it gives too much, reflecting white;

given in lobes to the ripples
in pools cold makes shadowed and clear,
and settling like a sediment's veneer
in the green growth below the puddle;

the body of light curving in bent nickels
on oak leaves, coins of its divide
speckling the lawn with light. It's implied:
a bright day is the sun's burial.

That communion that tastes of light
let me walk in it one Saturday,
and let the pieces of the earth say
the nature of death spoken in light.

I wear my nerves like a necklace,
and don't even understand their path,
just lay back to be some wire's swath,
allow the tingle of their talking's lace.

I am a radio made of plants,
the songs I play on my green lobes
all understand the wires of their birth; green globes
fructify with melody the magnets inside understand.

        1
Spring is the anatomy of light:
the body of the sun widely split
into the camellia's foliate slits,
when it gives too much, reflecting white;

given in lobes to the ripples
in pools cold makes shadowed and clear,
and settling like a sediment's veneer
in the green growth below the puddle;

the body of light curving in bent nickels
on oak leaves, coins of its divide
speckling the lawn with light. It's implied:
a bright day is the sun's burial.

That communion that tastes of light
let me walk in it one Saturday,
and let the pieces of the earth say
the nature of death spoken in light.

I wear my nerves like a necklace,
and don't even understand their path,
just lay back to be some wire's swath,
allow the tingle of their talking's lace.

I am a radio made of plants,
the songs I play on my green lobes
all understand the wires of their birth; green globes
fructify with melody the magnets inside understand.

Whether my throat is angry like wool,
or compliant and slick like a stream,
determines the color of the electric steam
that trails from and composes me, a spool:

sometimes phlegmy yellow and crackling;
a liquid blue with bellies of green
when I am right; crisp pink when I am mean:
my mood spools out in gaseous string.

That day I spooled a cerulean stun,
the blue of a bruise in Caribbean water,
speckled with green in lobes and filters,
and other brilliant coffins for the sun. 

These yarns of smoke engendered
and contained a Nightingale and Three Jabirus;
their substance at first a feathery cirrus,
a moment left them more solidly tendered.

I wired and steamed everywhere around,
and in the dirt I made a mirror
by pure force of permeation and odor,
and became a phrase of the ground.

The birds, all brindled like oil slicks,
flecked with ambiguous gristle,
and with a nerve's invisible glisten,
were man-sized, and crusted with black.

The Nightingale had a baby's face,
and all the Jabirus had the face of a fetus;
they ate the grass like anorexic lettuce,
and left it in their teeth like green lace.

Obviously, then I followed them—
their fetal cheeks began to spasm
with the force of their nature and phantasm;
what they said was their froth's skim—

Said the Jabirus,

"We are bound to each other by a mirror:
he flattens us three into his one image."
"They are a prism that splits my pure plumage
into its constituent speckled odors,"

said the Nightingale.

"Here's a natural history of the soul,
which comes in seven jig-sawed parts,
and comes apart in several animals,
each one with a new-colored, raw-colored heart."

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


JACKSON WILLS

Jackson Wills is a graduate of the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop, and currently a Schaeffer Fellow at UNLV, pursuing his doctorate and teaching. He has been published in Drunken Boat, the Colorado Review, and The Iowa Review. "The Mountain" is featured in Drunken Boat #14.

This page was first displayed
on October 12, 2011

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