Invisible in shade they dizzy shafts
Of sunlight the oaks let through, in funnel-lifts,
Like blurred ether or scrambled oxygen.
From afar they’re chimney smoke in columns;
Or, miniaturized, Blake’s young sweepers
Unlocked from their black coffins and leaping,
Laughing, cavorting, sporting in the wind;
Or a version of the tree denizened
With angels Blake saw when he was nine.
Annunciations happen all the time.
Encounter plus a posture of consent:
A messiah might hide in a second spent
Open-eyed, inclined to occasion it.
Then again, it might not, though a habit
Of seraphic vigilance might well be
It’s own reward. So might the shimmery
Pillared cloud of a million mating flies
That one instant overshadows you, then dies.
Jake Crist lives in Columbus, Ohio, and works at a supportive housing nonprofit. His poems have appeared recently in Poetry, Subtropics, and Threepenny Review.
Image: NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Lake Erie HABs, July 2015, photograph.