Michael Taylor

The Eel

In the crowded yard, the oily blue smoke
Of an eel supper, the eel looks on.

He is home for the summer. She is home for the summer
Metamorphosing, the one in the other,

Androgynous, ambivalent, slipping in and out
Of the local, the universal,

Reading about itself, in the Book of the Eel,
As a disappearing species,

Toying with its own myths, renewing its passports,
Wondering whether or not a child is possible,

Longing, unconsciously, for autumn
As the tractor roars all night, and the pilot lights flash

In the fields outside. For the night phosphorescence
Of cities, the lifelong shedding of skins.


Another drought morning after too brief dawn downpour,
uncountable silvery glitterings on the leaves of the withering maples --

I think of a troop of blissful approaching Dante,
"a hundred spheres shining," he rhapsodizes, "the purest pearls. . . "

then frightening brilliant myriad gleam in my lamp
of the eyes of the vast swarm of bats I found once in a cave,

a chamber whose walls seethed with a speechless carpet of creatures,
their cacophonous, keen, insistent, incessant squeakings and squealings

churning the warm, rand, cloying air; of how one,
perfectly still among all the fitfully twitching others,

was looking straight at me, gazing solemnly, thoughtfully up
from beneath the intricate furl of its leathery wings

as though it couldn't believe I was there, or were trying to place me,
to situate me in the gnarl we'd evolved from, and now

the trees still heartrendingly asparkle, Dante again,
this time the way he'll refer to a figure he meets as "the life of…"

not the soul, or person, the life, and once more the bat, and I,
our lives in that moment together, our lives, our lives

his with no vision of celestial splendor, on poem,
mine with no flight, no unblundering dash through the dark,

his without realizing it would, so soon, no longer exist,
mine having to know for both of us both that everything ends,

world, after-world, even their memory, steamed away
like the film of uncertain vapor of the last of the luscious rain

— C.K. Williams


Quieting consciousness,
reclaim neglected detail,
fill the imprecise cavity,
with careful observation.

Worlds in other dimensions,
existing in membranes,
bubbles or vapor forms
that parallel this one

Space and form in time,
indivisible, mirror an infinity
within a glass cosmos

Shaping every imaginable form
because of a butterfly flap
in a speck of dark matter
in a snowflake,

a matrix whose existence is a metaphor
invisible but there
This proves the existence of other dimensions
as photons exit the lazar glare.

— Michael Taylor