FLUORESCENCE

The forest floor
Is floured over
In vegetable ores,
The scents and
Essences
Of what a clover
Or a flower is.


In using the word, fluorescent, to describe a bug in my
poem, “Firefly,” I was struck by the smaller words hidden
there, all of which well described fluorescence. I had been
reading Emily Dickinson that morning, but didn’t expect
myself to fall so easily into a Dickinsonian trance.
This was the consequence of not having a deck on the
house, as we were eliminating all wood appurtenances
to exorcise the demon of wildfire. I was thus driven into
the woods, which were alive with more poems than I had
the energy to face down. Having had no time during the
week for anything vaguely approaching selfishness, I was
flooded with self-indulgence, known charitably as ideas.
My friend the bug (see the poem, “Firefly”), after hopefully
exploring my flower shirt, had installed itself on the
green metal table, trying to figure out its obvious photosynthetic
application, possibly not obvious to anyone but
a bug.

Tippet Alley
August 10th, 2002