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consolamentum by Mara Adamitz Scrupe

& you ask me how to read an illuminated manuscript in a cataract

of sleeplessness after the animals have fallen

fast as the second door closes & a wedge of pinkish diffidence 

diffuses an otherwise gloom & a main instrument – what should

I call it – birdsong in tremolo (melody is after all ever

changing & mutable) come nagging as a voice

in a depth of noiselessness asking for consideration for

a moment of question or a future patched & golden

as this autumn sunrise/ splinter of daybreak into the dispersing

mass of night (how am I doing drafting a scene you can’t

see) the darkness thrown off like worn out shirts & pants

ragged rugs & sun-shredded curtains but I swear

if I had a screwdriver slotted or Phillips either one’d

work just fine I could fix this up good (I’m decent

at repairs & restoration) I can do almost anything

with these hands take a sad case & make it pretty

likewise if I had a tinsnips I’d wrap everything up

with tie wire keep it together one way or another

though tidied or in deshabille/ either way waiting

for the not straight the wildly tattered drawn & lettered

lashing together pictures & artifacts of another aesthetic

entirely a pun of light & shadow come alive

with this dawning breeze: limbs of trees climb the sky

like pen trials on a flyleaf or as allegorical depiction/ Fortuna

for instance turning her wheel for life’s rise & fall or in a rapids

of insularity (I’m reminded of that opulence of Anglo-Saxon

gemstone pigment gilt draperies fluttering in the bestiary

of a medieval parchment painting) in this near nocturne for fellow

creatures raccoons stamp their little red-clay-smeared paws

on my nice clean black slate walk & a groundhog right

now chewing the edge off my dawn-on-the-front-porch

insomnia or in my very own bas-de-page portraits of other

extinctions & the courage it takes to suffer is this private

consolamentum: precious souls made sinecure requiring so little

work from me but giving them the dignity the sanctity

of food & shelter: a burrow a den a nest & lair


Mara Adamitz Scrupe is a poet and writer, visual artist, and documentary filmmaker. Her publications include five full poetry collections. She resides with her husband on their farm in the Blue Ridge Piedmont countryside of central Virginia.

This poem was chosen by Anthropocene guest editor Tom Branfoot


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