by Laton Carter
Two perfect dandelions hover stemless above the grass. The leopard is in repose, and the squirrel, upright on its haunches, offers to share its three acorns with the zebra. In bisected cutaway, the tree is hollow. From its exterior some type of evergreen, but the inner walls glow mahogany red. Here the bird has spun itself into a powdery ball, its eggs out of sight in a straw cup. Because it is the one that presides, the lion is in motion, no look of serenity from its patrol.
The adult checks its eyes in the mirror. This is only the beginning of my changes. At last on its checkered bedsheet, the child smells of ointment and milk, is figuring the rhythms of breath and sleep. Wordlessness with sound means contortions of sound, inflections that rise and fall. First spike of spring, the white crown sparrow returned to the apple tree. Wonder, capable of more. Anxiety, capable of more.
With an atmosphere composed largely of nitrogen and liquid methane, the fifteenth moon of Saturn holds a stalled promise of life. Titan, family of giants supplanted by Zeus, not almighty but brewing and luminous. Below its dunes and frigid darklands, submerged beneath a frozen crust, pools of water and ammonia – the harbor, the parent. Six billion years it must wait before the sun expands to heat its surface. The half-written letter, the suspended kiss drifts loosely in its ether: unknown thing, living body, let me prove my devotion.
*Photo courtesy Darragh Sherwin.