Poem - “Evolutionary, Our Desire for Luster”

Bethany (Carlson) Swann

They say humans are attracted to glitter:
evolutionary, our desire for luster –

an act of self-preservation, this compulsion 
for freshwater surfaces. To be human 

is to come up for air. And so we surface 
parting the lashless phrases of sun. 

What the eye takes in, encloses as ours. 
When a train the color of an origin story 

echoes back to me in a dream, I don’t question 

whether it is the sound of caught sun 

embroidered across the small green hills.
In the beginning, heat storms ossified 

the bones of wintering quail. Back then,
wifi passwords were only four letters long, 

no special characters. We memorized
a word for when the light razored through 

formless loam, we grew restless in the arc 
of its narrative. The act of being was a kind of piety. 

We did not yet know the dazzling
templates to which we would conform.