Work­ing Or­der

The Iowa Review - - FRONT PAGE -

I stop mid­stride and can­not look away from the or­di­nary

tick­ing of the mul­ti­verse, senses

and sim­ple ma­chines that glow sus­pended in Septem­ber’s light. I can­not at­tend

to my er­rands, er­rant, to think I think of you and think

of you as I watch the sun slip into some­thing more and lick the hori­zon’s lip

and bend in close to bur­nish a bee go­ing down on a hosta flower. Most

of my mem­ory’s rel­e­vant flash cards have fallen to flick­ers of trivia, or­phaned ref­er­ents ren­dered ar­cana—

swarm cell, propo­lis, honey stom­ach, su­per­se­dure— but still I re­mem­ber

this crea­ture to be in­ner­vated and that in death it can still sting. I for­get to what

end its venom lasts. It and I lost in its act,

small grav­ity of its at­ten­tion, pa­tience stir­ring nec­tar, I can­not say it gives the flower plea­sure,

but I do be­lieve there are no sim­ple ques­tions, senses, nor ma­chines. The after­noon’s true task is else­where.

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