mei mei berssenbrugge

from Fairies by Mei Mei Berssenbrugge

Fairies begin their day by coming together a moment and sharing joy.

They love the feeling, which dew on the leaves draws from grass, lilacs and the response of meadow and flowers to the dawn.

Diminutive green sylphs now run in the grass, whose growth seems intimately associated with theirs, a single line of concentration.

They talk to themselves, constantly repeating, with an intensity causing their etheric doubles, grass, to vibrate as they pass, vivifying growth.

To rabbits and young children they’re visible, but I see points of light, tiny clouds of color and gleams of movement.

The lawn is covered with these flashes.

In low alyssums along a border, one exquisite, tiny being plays around stems, passing in and out of each bud.

She’s happy and feels much affection for the plants, which she regards as her own body.

The material of her actual body is loosely knit as steam or a colored gas, bright apple-green or yellow, and is very close to emotion.

Tenderness for plants shows as rose; sympathy for their growth and adaptability as flashes of emerald.

When she feels joy, her body responds all-over with a desire to be somewhere or do something for plants.

Hers is not a world of surfaces—skin, husks, bark with definite edges and identities.

Trees appear as columns of light melting into surroundings where form is discerned, but is glowing, transparent, mingling like breath.

She tends to a plant by maintaining fusion between the plant’s form and life-vitality contained within.

She works as part of nature’s massed intelligence to express the involution of awareness or consciousness into a form.

And she includes vitality, because one element of form is action.

Sprouting, branching, leafing, blossoming, crumbling to humus are all form to a fairy.

THE STAR FIELD


Placing our emotion on a field, as I said, became a nucleus of space 
defined by a rain of light and indeterminate contours of a landscape 
like the photograph of an explosion, and gave the travel of your gaze into it 
     or on me 
imaginative weight of the passage along a gulf of space 
or a series of aluminum poles 

She walks through the rooms of blue chain-linked fence, a spacious tennis court 
of rooms on concrete, instead of the single movement of a room where sky 
     and earth 
would come together

Outside is the field she is thinking about, a category of gray dots 
on a television screen, of star data, representing no one’s experience 
but which thrills all who gaze on it, so that it must be experience, and 
the land at large becomes the light on the land

A coyote or a flicker’s call 
is transfixed at the moment before its dissemination across the field
a sediment of, instead 
of the tracing of feeling, the ratio of people to the space

I pass through focal planes of blue tennis court as a scene of desire
The material of the sky adjacent to me eludes me, 
a pure signifier, and shift of sense 
the sky or space a gradation of material, the light a trace
of mobility like a trace of light on a sensitive screen, extended
into the plane of the trace 
and marked by light poles or drawn close by a planet at the edge

Your name becomes a trace of light. Through the movement of the trace 
its repetition and deferral, my life protects itself
from blurs, time lapses, flares 
of the sexual act, its mobility of an afterimage

Then I can understand the eye’s passage into depth
as an inability to stand still for you to see

1

The reservoir is trying to freeze over
with an expanding map shaped like an angel
Separated lovers on a coast keep walking
toward each other. Low sun reddens
their faces without heat

They are weary of always moving
so seldom touching, but never think
to move inland, massive and stable
Imagoes hatched on thin ice, it’s
their illusion membranes are brighter
than occluded flesh of interiors

Membranes have the density
of an edge, and edges violent as lava

2

All day she walked across the tundra
He began to drive away obliquely
at exactly her speed, so she altered
her angle, aiming above him, as in a current

He departed in a zone that solidified
at his whim, so she reached for his hand
Land cracked with their weight. He seemed
to reach toward her, a hand like paper
twisted and folded over, only a surface
with wan modulations, like a map

3

Then she delicately stepped out
toward the edge, tenuous as a leaf
as if waiting for a letter
but it froze too swiftly before her
At dusk his voice broke her concentration
She turned, vexed, and saw he had not spoken.

—  The Reservoir, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge (Guest reader, 2008)