Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Plume

Plume

by Deborah Fries, from Various Modes of Departure (Kore Press, 2004)


Plume. The word bubbles purple through the lips, evocative
as peacock or Cabernet, a feathery grape stain that you
imagine fanning out in an elegant tail of color beneath the lawn.
But it is colorless, the ghost print of a rainbow.
It is under the house. Clear, flashing its fish-scale sheen,
moving fast as a school of minnows away from the source,
fleeing the perched aquifer beneath the gas station,
rising up in residential wells, coming up a shaken cocktail of letters:
M as in methyl, an almost fresh, mentholated green;
T, for tertiary, as if ooze from some dark time after the Triassic;
but contemporary, this B, this sick-sweet, butyl, buttery
as esters of banana; and E, that final effervescent
letter, wispy ether, invisible carbonate of groundwater.
Sampled, sucked up, filtered, ubiquitous.
At night they wonder where it has gone. Migrated
down a strike or dip in the fractured bedrock, deciding
to visit the elderly neighbors now, selecting its unexpected
path of unseen resistance as it travels through Stockton sandstone
toward the creek, stopping brielfly to pulse and shine
and appear unannounced: entering the house one rainy afternoon
through a familiar spigot--this displaced additive,
caught in a solution in a vase of white peonies;
disguised by rosemary in shampoo lather; stirred
with sugar, like drops of musty rose water, into the lemonade.

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