Laura-Gray Street

Phosphenes and Entopics

Winter convinced me I was impermeable.
Today I’ve moved a lawn chair
close enough to prop my legs on the fence
and doze, light pressed like thumbs
against my eyelids. I’d drink this sun
with my veins if I were green and growing,
with chloroplasts instead of follicles.
When I blink away phantom spots, I see a wasp
clinging to the fence board. It strokes
the pine grain with its front legs, back legs
braced as the head bobs, mandibles
harvesting whatever flushes from vesicles
of rotted wood—whatever it is, I can’t see.
The wasp pauses, then flies to my leg
and fondles the stubble there. I will myself
to breath calmly, relaxed, focused
on observing this infinitely interesting
living thing. Then I give way to instinct,
My gasp wrenched to wide-open shout
at the inevitable sting. Once there was
a ceramicist who cast vessels on the scale
of human beings. Asked why he punctured each
one by striking the soft clay with a two-by-four,
he answered, “To let the darkness out.”