Like all
who believe in the senses,
I was an accountant,

Not registrar,

Permitted to touch
the leaf of a thistle,
the trembling
work of a spider.

To ponder the Hubble’s recordings.

It did not matter
if I believed in
the party of particle or of wave,
as I carried no weapon.

It did not matter if I believed.

I weighed ashes,
cities that glittered like rubies,
on the scales I was given,
in units of fear and amazement.

I wrote the word it, the word is.

I entered the debt that is owed to the real.

spine-covered leaf, soft-bodied spider,
octopus lifting
one curious tentacle back toward the hand of the diver
that in such black ink
I set down your flammable colors.

From Ledger (Knopf, 2020). Posted by kind permission of the poet.
Image by Bence Balla Schottner.