Jari Chevalier

The Tick and the Unified Field

Buzz, shudder, tick, the grass fronds
cross and tap, feathers mussed, fur pawed
in hiding, insects intent on shifting their legs,
skeins of nests rustled: all the susurrus, syncopated
noise of uncut grass lured her to the field.

Violet and ice-yellow moths taunted and rested
on the wildflowers. At the edge of the tall grasses,
their shadows rhythms on the ground,
she sunk, waiting on ideas to strike her. They wove
on, incessant, like sun-nerves in water.

Something did come to her, not an idea, a thing.
Lusty for blood, it dropped into her hair,
and latched on by her ear. A cocoon
on the underside of a blade threw the light.
A frog’s throat trembled. “Principles,” she thought,

“primal forces.” Heat, sweat, shivers, voices—her body
quaked with fever. She paced her lab, the tick-virus
swelling; delirium-voices whispered: it’s something
in the feelings, the nerves of beings.
So she pinned
live subjects down to boards and tapped their fear

on her instruments. She built the equation—
urges of plants pressed to windowpanes,
the pull of life on a sluggish heart that winces on, water
spiraling down the drain, clockwise or counterclockwise,
everything, all! She squared the living and divided the dead

till it—yes!—maybe—fit . . . almost.
Sunlight, crickets.
She staggered into the wave and buzz,
where the sated tick unhinged and dropped away
to bear a nourished sac of eggs.

The field, blowing harder, grasses
in tousled waves, incessant and measureless, this
whole earth-cloud-sun-wind breathing its breathing,
mixing and melding; and no body, no reason, could trace
to an origin this hunger, ticking, up-and-running that we are, then were.