for Louise Bogan
Diamond-crusted wings flying an armored syringe
of a body, pencil-thin.
The sun strings rainbows
in your iridescent wake. As children, we believed
you fed snakes their venom,
so we shattered you
to pieces with tennis rackets. How stupid and cruel
are the kingdoms of callow youth.
you are barely a breath, delicate in your acrobatic
an obelisk of singular desire.
30,000 lenses focus your enormous eyes,
to the world and its rising aquatic hunger.
Your insect brothers are mostly invisible, and we
forget, so many of you
and so few of us, and so much
mutual distrust. But you are the fastest,
a fancy dart,
leaving even hummingbirds to sit and hover,
simmering, swimming in gravity.
In two months,
your life is a husk, having eaten your weight in
gnats and mosquitoes
every passing day. Briefly,
you skim the water, cooling, testing your reflection,
reminded in those refractions
of your ancestors,
before dinosaurs and birds, 300 million years ago,
three feet across, an ominous
shadow on the still
gaping pond, angels tense and watchful,
on their bellies,
clinging to your back
like holy winged Comanches