Thursday, April 11, 2013

Eva Jackson: 0041

stolen kiss in the hall of nocturnal animals

You held the door open and we saw only
Leaves, low redlit behind glass til we adjusted
And still saw only sand, sand and hummocks of grass
As though we were wearing night vision goggles,
Then saw the bushbaby staring at us, and wondered
If we were parted not only by night, but by one-way glass
So that it would not be disturbed.

Would it be a greater invasion of their privacy
To store the animals
Behind such glass, so that they did not know they were observed,
Did not stop their scratching and loving and eating,
Their washing of goods and chicken livers in their dirty, precious streams?

The peahen lay down between two bushes, back in the sunlight
And put her head on one side, as if to say
‘See all my shades
My many many shades
That you would miss, were you to become
Too mesmerised by his blue velvet.’

She too had a crest, she too
Gave over into gold, had an exquisite beak.

In the night when the park shuts down,
The hall of nocturnal animals is reversed
Like a carnival coming to life, the lights turn on
And the slight texture of the mouse, sleeping,
Is still indistinguishable from its surroundings.