[Poetry] — Tom Holmes

The Liquid Drops in Lemaîtreville: The Destroyer of Town

Lemaîtreville formed
in the shape of a bell,

where the tree grew in its mouth
and the village dug its well.

At the shoulder of town,
the free library with books, records,

brats, sauerkraut, and ale.
The town grew in a big bang.

The houses, a courthouse,
a business district, and vendors.

Headstock citizens walked
and bowed in the stores.

Then politicians arrived and taxes.
Perhaps you’ve seen an amoeba

propagate. This was how the town
bifurcated. Lemaîtreville to the north.

Gamow Town down south.
This is where Oppenheimer lived

before he ended the war,
where he read the Bhagavad Gita

he purchased from a bookstore
and first regretted the tax he’d pay.

The Lemaîtreville Tree

Before the founders broke ground,
they considered the ghost
who whispered static from night.

As they broke ground, a band played
Messiaen. The tree sprouted.
Its copper bark vibrated and hummed.

Kaluza Klein walked graduation
with her degree in Forensic Physics.
Her antenna focused on the start of time.

She listened to shadows no one saw
and documented them. In Lemaîtreville,
they established the library with its school.

The tree was twenty feet high and sung
static into song, swayed in dance,
and cast shadows across the library.

Kaluza Klein heard the big bang
five hundred miles to the southwest.
Kaluza Klein calculated her time.

She studied the tree, made a calculus.
She tapped her antenna to the tree. She listened.
She heard the cosmic background radiation

melody. She smiled, shivered.
She started writing On the Big Bang
and the History of Lemaîtreville
.

She wrote about the ghost of time
and space sliding across its memory.
She transcribed for the tree.

Semlohsa’s Moht Vision

Moht witnessed elephant trunks
five-light-years long
suspending the universe.

He saw an eagle lay a star,
a trunk siphon it, relocate it,
and spin its angular momentum.

The star shimmered blue.
Moht woke, recorded the incident,
and walked to the barium field.

A trunk rose from the town well,
arced over the library, smelled
the flowers, then disappeared.

Moht recognized the ghost
as message of an approaching past.
Moht made a record of it

and placed it under his hat.
Moht made his preparations,
no longer afraid of atomic bombs.

The Lemaîtreville-Batavia Railway’s Warning Plaques

When there was lightning,
the ghost climbed the tree.
It loved to drink fresh electricity.

When the nights were dry,
it licked railroad tracks
and snorted static sparks.

It liked to pretend it was a train
wheel, and rolled along
when one departed the depot.

Once it sniffed and rolled at once
and tripped itself into the journal box
flipped into the boiler tubes,

down through the ashpan hopper,
to the passenger car coupling,
and into the walls’ lights.

It’s lived in the wiring since.
In tunnels, it likes to flicker lights,
or spit electricity from baseboard sockets.

Today there are signs inside each car:
Cover all outlets before entering
a tunnel at night. Mind the ghost.

*

Tom Holmes is the founding editor of Redactions: Poetry & Poetics, and author of three full-length collections of poetry, most recently The Cave, which won The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013, as well as four chapbooks. His writings about wine, poetry book reviews, and poetry can be found at his blog, The Line Break. Follow him on Twitter: @TheLineBreak

 

 

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