King of neither plant nor animal
but of mornings after
rain / / ghost sprung in the gloaming
a memory of betweenness / /
arisen in the dark
and damp / / I touch your thick cap
with an alien finger / / rifle
the fan of gills beneath / /
I search for the animal
in you / / am only a passerby / /
uncertain whether my
touch is ruin / / how you
might linger in the ridged tips of my
hand / / I am certain I
should not linger / / could not bear
another morning’s collapse into
filament and mulch / / soft / /
still softer / / then much too soft.
This poem is from Pangyrus’s poetry collection, What Tells You Ripeness: Black Poets on Nature, Edited by Nikki Wallschlaeger (available in our store).
Image: “Young ferns” by Jakub T. Jankiewicz, licensed under CC 2.0.