This is what Jandira told me—
The invisibilities will ascend from ground and green,
from fields of stubbled corn and furrowed dirt,
from the Amazonic jungle
through the tree lines to the turbulence above.
Now I’m perched in a jacaranda,
and set to fade like Carroll’s cat, the great auk and the dodo,
with my telescope trained on the far horizon
where the welded night’s creation is rising with the dawn.
Freestyle prophets and fierce believers are gathered on the beach below,
Maria from the bakery and José from the Ilhabela market,
waving tea towel flags and pillowslip pennants,
fluttering wind vanes with uncertain compass.
The mighty leviathan stops in deeper water, and I count
seven cast iron statues on the deck,
with glyphs in old Atlantean labeling its hull.
Gearwheels crank an obsidian drawbridge
shuddering to the shore, and the exodus begins.
I weave my spyglass across the crowd and it finds Jandira,
with little Amelie in her arms and Pedro by her side.
Our time for warm embraces, for forgiveness
and goodbyes has passed. Even regret has a use-by date,
and I stay hidden in the branches and the solitude I chose.
I didn’t listen,
I didn’t know that logic only runs from A to B,
that understanding has never been a friend of innocence.
By night the beach is only imprints, the sky’s refulgence
a sickly fireworks display, and the roiling storm
cannot support its weightiest clouds, I watch them
arcing down, falling to the sea.
Some harsh primeval god is rewinding nature’s
clock spring, a new cycle has begun,
and at last the jacaranda
is torn from mother earth
and I’m carried spinning upward
to the maelstrom.
Telescopes were used to symbolize madness in eighteenth century art, perhaps to indicate a loss of moral compass. I prefer binoculars. Ilhabela (‘beautiful island’) lies off the Brazilian coast between Rio and São Paulo, and I’ve spent a number of very enjoyable holidays there.
invisibilities—numerical abstract art