The Essence of Instinct
for Charles Darwin
That summer you were alone
with your thoughts, which is to say
you were never alone.
Nuage. Vapours. The Narwhal.
Collecting iridescent bugs
in your barely-visible net.
Cataloguing, by sputtering candle
the endless lists, ink darkening
the corner of your mouth.
Your armament of facts
was nothing much to her, as she
tested your reflexes with a pin.
Birdwatching. Beetles. Pheasant
a black stone’s coup de grâce.
Once there was no pattern,
the crochet unpicked by needles,
coloured threads, broken limbs.
Pricked, you bleed like a prism,
dividing light from light
through the aperture of pain.
All at once, the peacock
opens his eyes, and the threads
pull tight, stitching you in.