Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Qualia

"Oviparous," she says, "a duck-billed platypus
is oviparous." Strapped in her car seat,
she colors an array of tulips on white paper.
Stopped at a light on highway 285, he stares
at a gas station, convenience store. A man
steps out with a six-pack under his right arm,
while she repeats last night's queries:
Why does the Nile flow north? Who was Nefertiti?

And as cars accelerate, he knows the silver
one in the rearview mirror will pass him
on the right before he reaches the hilltop.
She sounds out "red": what was the shape
and color of a triceratops egg? Though
a chart can depict how height and weight
unfold along time, no chart can depict
how imagination unfolds, endlessly branching.

As sunlight slants over the Sangre de Cristos,
he notices Tesuque Pueblo police have pulled
a pickup off the highway. At school, lined
up for kindergarten, she waves, and he waves
back. As classmates enter, she waves; and again
he waves back, waves at apple blossoms
unfolding white along a studio wall, at
what is shed and slithering into pellucid air.


-Arthur Sze