On an August night the shadow markings of the ash
plant cast by the orange streetlamp to the north wall
of the beige bar is a supine serpent with nine claws.
Wingless nymphs ground pulse into its temples, swallow
sap and dead skin from the underside of its pallid
palms. Leaf tissue is scorched, will remain until late fall.
We are all drunkards here, seeing things that enchant us:
basket of chestnuts or brown eggs, man and boy hauling
empty wheelbarrow, boughs turning in the sun.
The earth beneath us becomes a field of pitchforks.
We dig in deep and allow the punctures—we will molt
if we have to—and become dormant by the first frost.