Catching the slimy, innocuous
by Gillian Jerome
At Duford field the grass stood
in dim awe at our weakness
for things amphibian.
A bearded god watched
as we carried from Keonís paddock
the guts of a defunct barn:
enough for a good enough shack
to store our lunch, our buckets.
We found fragments: tins of lozenges, beer cans,
mucked-up pages of porn we stuffed down our trousers,
saved for later under a flannel tent.
This was the fun of it: we crept in at dusk
pressed wood planks
firm to the lanky grass until a gold, fetal
damp developed, all camphored and real.
And then, a dent in the grass, an odd pigment.
Our gaze opened
with the torque of a burgeoning iris.
All this for one daily absolution: never to kill
but to behold with rapture at daybreak
a vinyl s snoring in the pump of its own dank blood.
Each specimen moved us.
We carried pails with punctured lids to store them.
Brother, pygmy child, covered in dog hair,
spread his shadowed tiptoe across the veld.
Our greening chapel heard his music,
blessed him with blood-rich bruises.
His proud, skulking sister, unabashedly
smalled by such metal traffic,
such casual slide into the hereafter,
I coveted the sloughed-off miles of their silent selves,
their littered abrasions and their copper slither
into a world miniatured by creatures like us,
bound by oxygen, impoverished.
Wherever we stooped, they vanished;
like monks, we followed their cool hiss
through the nameable world.
At night, we searched
the stucco ceiling for the face of St. Patrick.
He ignored us.
So we willed their coiled throats into bed with us,
freed of stiff skin, small gesture.
Gillian Jerome is home off-commercial, nearly done waiting.