‘a mystery, and a waste of pain’
Annie Dillard
Inexplicable pain –
you’re a thing like Sirius
or Aldebaran – another
asterism of the first magnitude:
remote incandescence –
colour – heat – which degrade
when I regard you with
the naked eye, dazzling
and extinct.

When I consider all
the things you are – the neglect
of pain; a window of slumping glass
between us and the distorted world –
I wish we held you not inside
but near. Jungled

in your orchid
and passionflower,
creepers and bromeliads
of pain, we’d peer through
each other’s scintillate leaves.

If we spoke of you at all,
it was ruefully,
to say:

If it flowered
less often, like a cactus,
then I might look forward
to its alien bloom. Still,
when it dies back, I feed
and pot it up.

Or boast I grafted
and grew a great pain
last year, a scion
of the original