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A Coalescence
–of beholding, at one glance, the effects of causes which may have happened at intervals of time incalculably remote, and during which, nevertheless, no local circumstances may have occurred to mark that there is a great chasm in the chronological series of nature’s archives.
Charles Lyell, Principles of Geology

From that distance its rifts and fusions across a theater of inexplicable ages sown in

culminations were to establish such a fury should it sweep before it again all evidence

of these unbridgeable hiatuses though our knowledge had steered its presence among

countless series of worlds and when crushed by a consolidating passage through lost

deposits ton upon ton of leaf matter the flesh of beasts leveraged against its resistance

seemed to reprove our wanton assumption that illusory and shelving cavities below

the mesmerizing juices the earths as to inject a paralysis between successive lifetimes

having tempered what annihilation later transmitted were across the displaced cycles

such latitudes as thought demarcating its eternally funneling concentricity inward to

floes of accumulated affliction whereas their mediate cause had long spread its debris

among catastrophes if an uninterrupted metamorphosis be admitted to our picture

dominions abandoned to such turbulence that their veins filled with metal and rare

for to open an aerial perspective would enclose within the tight bounds of conscious

mirage those years be but corals marine shells the teeth and bones of fish left behind

the impregnations themselves were to follow upon strata laid down by sensitive lavas

and at the adventive threshold time its space-bearing vortices opening the skull shall

occasion a rising and sinking of plates their edges marked by amethystine fires while

intermixed in a lattice of stellar origin successive coasts those once again deposited

in transverse beds or against an alien summons were by torrents swept in advance of

atomicity and immensity ceaselessly transposed to have engendered an animate soul

balanced on an axle point its alluvial body furrowed with dispersals of stars did beget

a sudden expiration snatched from the frame of their coronas as they had risen from

below an horizon well hidden the husk field of scattered suns glowing in embers lay

beyond conjecture or the ambition proper to minerals and blind perpetuities pressed

their flanks whether those perished ages once buried were eventually to reemerge

into light and air the hardened feeling effervesces with the ignition of its confinement

shall burn entirely if what were insurmountable perplexities reveal a common source

now abandoned to this unabated fulfillment than a gaze which to penetrate its dark

miracle discovers within an original necessity possessed of neither author nor origin

will explain for us why nature’s transmutations achieve but momentary architectures

split and founder into rigid bark which emulation to imply a technique of monuments

would harden the vegetable realms against all vicissitude as the lizard its imbrications

about a central purposelessness none dare accept for the wedge it puts in covenants

drawn up in a serpent’s night variously the knots and swollen burls of trees give out

that convulsions having spoiled the better part of secular periods themselves do lie

cozened away in a fondness without bounds the womb grows full and the day swells

in its gourd the Great Year rounding his perfect cheek she joyfully makes her way if

along a cliff when against the errant root uplifted brings her foot and stumbles her

infant shall plummet to the sea in but a moment the water makes of its placidity a

disrupted surface when rises up around the plunging drop a crown-like splash with

scalloped peaks shooting out their tiny jets have already broken into that multitude

of droplets called spray is one minute bead come finally to rest within a coalescence.

Michael Ives’s books include The External Combustion Engine (Futurepoem) and Wavetable (Dr. Cicero Books). He teaches at Bard College.