One Day I’ll Market Your Death
Do not mistake this phrase for one contiguous with threat.
Even its flower knows the theory of attractive quality.
An ideal medium for cochineal production, the prickly pear
shelters a host of creatures we seldom caress.
Which displays greater motility, the cactus or the cochineal?
Life-cycle of attributes, packaging, excitement, the unknown.
In the Aztec language, the word meant prickly pear blood.
The insects’ bodies and eggs yield carminic acid, which mixed with
aluminum or calcium salts yields the red dye.
Reaching for substance is neither metaphor nor effect. Sessile
parasite: carmine. The product of Dactylopius coccus
became the second most valued resource in Mexico, behind silver.
Opportunism unveiling itself, revealed, or, layered greed.
What appears to be fungus is wealth.
One-dimensional / attractive / indifferent. We look together
through the window and observe our separate selves.
This poem originally appeared in a slightly different form in Otoliths, and was included in my chapbook length work, The Circumference of Other, published in IDES: A Collection of Poetry Chapbooks, by Silver Birch Press.