Wages of green

Pan takes a bubble bath.


“… enfermedades verdes/ neones saturnianos/
que te afligen/ con agobiante luz

…verdant maladies,/ melancholy fluorescence/
afflicting with oppressive light…” – Oda al color verde, Pablo Neruda

Inescapable, relentless green, verdigris
corrodes the houses and trees, viridescent
fur on fences, nature’s slow incursion
on artifacts. Green collects in back-bending
weed-plucking, paying in morning dew
and evening mist, fireflies and algae,
grasshoppers, cicadas, iridescent beetles
ravaging the roses. Bilious green leaches
the summer light, sultry as a viper,
strangling with venomous vines.
Yet when winter stills the peepers’ trills
and geese grace the gray, I know
I will pine for green.


What’s the opposite of an ode? Apparently, it’s an anti-ode.

This all started when I looked up the word “verdigris,” which is a patina that forms on copper. Then I thought about “cobre,” the Spanish word for copper and also to “charge or collect.”


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