Fluorescence

By Peter Halstead

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

August 10th, 2002
Redone August 13th, 2002

Explanation

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 note to “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