Some Revelation is at Hand
“We didn’t believe it ourselves at first. We took 10 years to confirm through experiments that the animals were really actually living without oxygen.” — Roberto Danovaro, deep-sea biologist
What lives in me craves light. I close my eyes
and my arms are almost tree. This is a trick
I’ve only recently learned. My skin ticks
with sugars, sighs and swells toward sky.
Crow cups the air and mounts up—
the forest takes flight below.
I am working my way up the west ridge to sun,
hard going. The mountain forgives few missteps
and the consequences are dire up here, unwinged.
Deep in the sea, miles beneath waves
lie dead zones of immense pressure, salt,
and airlessness. Also: tiny fringed cups, alive.
Making eggs, molting, tentacled.
A millimeter of lace in the anoxic dark.
Something like these also lived before
our atmosphere filled with oxygen.
Circles complete themselves.
Emerging from woods to the exposed ridge
Crow stands on a branch, back to the light, wings
I grab the next buckeye sapling and pull myself
one deer trail higher, laboring to breathe.
How fire rises in the lungs! Life labors toward
origin: to branch and flame and breath, or
sulphides and sediment and delicate waving fronds
built for the solace of crushing deeps.
Crow’s shadow wavers on the forest floor
crosswhipped with shadows of twigs stripped
bare for winter.
I may never be bird. I study the path to wings
but don’t know what comes before. Yet once
we both swam and cleaved to darkness, forsaking air,
unknown to the blessing of sun and thermal, caught
in the widening gyre.
About the Author: Watched by crows and friend to salamanders, Lisa Creech Bledsoe is a hiker, beekeeper, and writer living in the mountains of Western North Carolina. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of two full-length books of poetry, Appalachian Ground (2019), and Wolf Laundry (2020). She has new poems out or forthcoming in The Blue Mountain Review, American Writers Review, Sky Island Journal, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, Red Fez, and River Heron Review, among others.
Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Sunset in Klamath Falls” 2020