Elytron

I watch them come and go. I watch them. I watch them arrive and settle and take off again.

Sometimes I can study them, but not often.  They remain for only a few seconds.  A few seconds for my eyes to skip over them, and I make a mental note, that looks like that, this looks like this.  Sometimes I might be eating, or drinking from my flask, I’ve been sitting there so still for so long, I need to eat, you understand that, but it’s always  just at that moment, when I have a sandwich at my lips or the lid of the flask undone, they come, they arrive, they settle. And one decides to stay.  I breathe in.

It’s that iridescent quality that surprises me, as if the colour isn’t located in the thing itself, but in my head, or my imagination.  And the wings beat so  rapidly and the antennae a blur, and the compound eyes reflect the light again and again, like sunlight on the sea, and there it is, for a moment, held there, and just as it is captured, imprinted, and almost as immediately, changed, reshaped in the memory into something else, something that I want it to be more than what it is, because what it is is so fleeting, so momentary, and it’s gone.

I settle back to my place, holding on to the image. I get the notebook, I try and sketch its shape, adding annotations, I conjure the words: atramental, Tyrian, fuscous, cutch, ianthine, elytra, elytron, iceblink.

I breathe out.

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