Hard cake of the clay shore,
the lake leeched back,
trees tinseled with snakes.
From the vantage of our dock,
a moccasin beds a dead fish
in the cotton of its mouth.
In the pull of the foxhounds,
my grandfather bounds
through the cracked air and broken scrub.
A red splotch of bald fur,
a pile of dead foxes
pelted tight to the ground.
Split from the tongue of God—
the Muskogean name for the gurgle of water
my ancestor willed to the Lord.
I affirm total immersion.
I drink sweet, sweet tea steeped
in the deep water of a healing spring.
In Adam’s broken nucleus the neutrons run free—
the tangram of memory,
the bell-shaped chapel of the womb,
chronos and kairos,
an armor of light,
a single incandescent bulb slung from the worn rafter.
The salamander’s atomic orange—
the smolder of my tongue’s flame—
from my body, the burst of wings.
Poetry for imaginative conservatives may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.
The above painting is Refuge in Normandy by Berthe Morisot.