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Pastoral #4

These lights

as ricks of maple   boarded   latticed   doused by raw whiskey
burnt to charcoal                                                                                                                            fall
as heat   folded in a lack of vital air   & a rush of water to cool an ignited fire
as a body gathered in a Mason jar   as a paean to a childhood
I don’t remember                                                                                                                          well

surrounded by darkness as wings surrounded by elytra

& I pause   as my dog retracts on his leash   & later he sits
his body neutered                                                                          against the desire of the field
& I watch   as a cold light of chemicals   luminesces from the twilight of insect

& I remember the nights of their conception

children I have seldom seen   a daughter conceived in the stressed heart
                                                                                                                                    of her mother
the first night we returned to our bed   & a son conceived for the need
                                                                                                                      of the daughter

who would be an only child as her father   so   her mother worried
                                                                                                                          for the child
                                                                                                                        cradled alone

so our bodies lit                                                                stacked crosswise   on top of each other
in the ­­­­­­­­­gaslight                                                                           of exhaustion   & our intoxication

corresponds to the reaction of luciferase’s substrate   luciferin (LH2)
                                                                                                                       w| ATPMg21
generating inorganic pyrophosphate & an intermediate luciferyl-adenylate

second to oxidation & decarboxylation of LH2-AMP to oxyluciferin
light emitter   producing CO2   AMP   & photons of yellow-green light
(550 – 570 nm) in dark reaction   LH2-AMP oxidized to dehydroluciferyl-adenylate (L-AMP) luciferase also shows acyl-coenzyme A synthetase
activity   which leads to the formation of dehydroluciferyl-coenzyme
A (L-CoA)   luciferyl-coenzyme A   (LH2- CoA) & fatty acyl-CoAs
& luciferase catalyzes the synthesis of dinucleoside polyphosphates
from nucleosides w| at least a 30-phosphate chain plus an intact
terminal pyrophosphate moiety                                                                                       I am

lesser of the two parts of my daughter & son   & a name to rhyme
                                                                                                                  on special events

cruel as lights   born for God   & apprentices   of our waning spring days
when crowds of fireflies or lightening bugs gather in grasses & on a hillside
                                                                                                                        in Pennsylvania

I stand                                                                                                    at the end of my leash

wait for blessings of scarcity   the arrival of my mourning riche & meek

comforts of inheritance   I spent on knowledge   & years of rent I paid
                                                                                                                     for righteousness
& years of want for this lightness   as winged beetles glow
                                                                                                                        steady & flash
as a fear or sature

& glowworms   I slept in the sepals of a Nightcap
as you laid beneath fronds of Cinnamon fern                                           born & feed on nectar
                                                                                                                  burrow under bark
                                                                                                                            & hibernate
                                                                                                                                & pupate

                                                                                                                into a glow so bright
                                                                                                                        my heart slows

from a hunger for pyrones & coumarin.






Clade Song Right

Brent House is a native of Necaise, Mississippi, where he raised cattle and watermelons on his family’s farm. When not following his father through pasture and field, he wrote poems—mostly about flashes of lightening bugs and songs of cicadas—in a spiral-bound notebook. Those poems have grown to appear in journals such as Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, The Journal, Third Coast, and Kenyon Review, and his first collection, The Saw Year Prophecies (Slash Pine Press, 2010). He holds an MFA from Georgia College and serves as a contributing editor for The Tusculum Review. He lives and works in Pennsylvania, and this summer he happily welcomed the emergence of Brood X.