Every night the jackals come
to the prickly undergrowth beneath this porch,
pulled open from Mount Carmel
like a drawer with an unmatched sock.
Their cry is mournful, hopeless,
a wolf howl more like weeping.
I lean across the rail to see them,
but they are not for seeing.
Only a gleaming eye,
a spark yellow-flinted from the moon,
tells me it is not this land of soured milk, tart honey,
where cactus, gorse, and other bristling wild things thrive,
A mother wandered
from the daily reinterment of her child
with the nightly news.
Her eye could ignite that bush,
could make it burn.
I remember the invasion of Japanese beetles,1944.
Burnished copper tanks swarming over leaves I couldn’t see.
Looking back, it was a warning.
Our city streets like leaves.
But I was a child, taken with the glint of morning
on wings that fluttered golden when they moved.
How, close as kitten hairs, they scarcely touched,
respectful of another’s need.
The reverential hum of their devouring.
The widow’s sampler of the finest lace they left,
so fragile, spare and delicate I wondered how it held them,
so eerily exquisite eaten through.