Sunday, October 11, 2020

Ink (A cadralor, for Caitlin G.)

Wellcome Collection, "A crow is standing
on the handle of a large pitcher in front of
a well; illustration of a fable by J. Ogilby"

Bottled shadows, the inverse of
the droplets of liquid mercury I’d
play with when I was a child: wet,
welling up like tears as my crow-
quill pierced the surface tension.

Incomplete instructions for making
a silverpoint drawing. Rabbit-skin
glue needs a little grit, it’s the tooth
that bites off the silver. An invisible
ink, no truth shown until the tarnish.

The well’s broken, we don’t know why. Sent
a camera to snake down the hole, pass its
signal up, ghostly as a sonogram: a hex nut
has stripped off, jammed the pump. We call
a machinist. His nails, black as new moons.

On the floor and flat on my belly, propped up on my
elbows, watching Ko-Ko climb out of the inkwell. The
old TV screen shiny as my five-year-old’s delight in
those adventures I’d have, if I didn’t have to go home;
years later, the sad nostalgia of Ko-Ko on tattoo flash.

Another home: I learned when
northern cardinals flashed red
through live-oak, you’d make a
wish. Here, it’s ink-black crows
who make a wish, on seeing me.


Jessamyn said...


Dale said...

Oh, that's fabulous!