(Experiment Number 6)
The bones of many mortals are not hollow
but these, this perished swallow’s, surely are
(or were; the tense attention’s metaphysics
shan’t deter us). Inter it in this jar,
with one side showing, so that we can follow
the beetles’ weekly progress with their trocar-and-cannula aspiration.
Will the swallow watch? Not likely.
Travelling to the places essence seeks,
when freed, will take its interest and its time.
Its body, once its joy, decomposing,
won’t cause the soaring spirit any grief.
The swallow starts its tour in further space
where all the stars, place-holder points of light,
avail the bird as nulls in the vast number,
that he, a leading one, installs in flight.
Week 2. We watch the beetles cart away
most of what empowered swallow wings.
The bone remains; some skin, and all the feathers.
Week 10. No beetles. The larvae freeze.
One night we hear bird song.
Winter solstice. I find the broken jar.