Gram As Lifeform, Phosphorescing

Awake in my pushchair after sunset
I am proto-hominid; a hunter who searches
the hedgerow. The road surface quakes my teeth,
there are voices, the presence of figures.
This verge is a planetarium of glowworms; illuminated
ichor totems taking shape. It is not my moment. I wait.

Strapped in the car, I sing to radio pylons. But wait
until dark – when each isosceles dims into sunset,
then scaffold becomes illuminated
by a pack of wolves. Every red eye searches
an umbra of moths. It is my totem pole of figures
stacked amid shivering cables and metal teeth.

It goes past. I have dreams of losing teeth
then wake. A deathwatch beetle ticks the wait
from its cavity. Over me, glow stickers draw figures
of a star-chart without rotation, sunrise or sunset.
In such patterns are embryonic myth; I make searches
whose purpose is not illuminated.

Watching jellyfish breeze an aquarium tank, illuminated
blackly by ultraviolet bulbs, my reflected teeth
are pre-human, skeletal; a face unlike mine searches
itself among the bulks of hydrozoa. They wait
like negative plates of sunset.
Faintly, my teacher’s voice relates figures.

I have imagined a moment the self figures
out who it is, when the familiar becomes illuminated.
We are near hedgerow, using our throats to test sunset
with shrieks high enough to shiver teeth,
hoping bats will acknowledge us. I see one wait,
hovering mid-beat between pips as it searches.

In these days, when troglodytes perform web searches,
I am camped. My dog runs figures
of eight in his LED collar while I wait
on a flame. Half-visible in its illuminated
circle, we listen to screech owls give saw-teeth
calls. A myth takes shape in these hours after sunset.

I am someone who figures a beast in the umbra of sunset,
that creature who searches lightning for its teeth,
who waits beneath park lamps to see moths illuminated.




Prompted by this workshop in The Guardian by Michael Symmons Roberts on ‘Self as an Animal of Light’ (Neruda)