50ml of India Ink

Opaque, & black as gravity,
the ink is perfectly unlike

the small glass pot
whose shape it occupies

so passively. It is
something’s burnt remains

that makes it black.
It is the sticky leavings

of the lac-bug
that makes it shine.

(The name of the lac-bug
has nothing to do

with absence, but means,
in fact, a multitude.)

It performs its tiny fractal
creep through the paper’s

knitted capillaries,
& finds itself astounded

with significance. It means
I am not yet dead.

I was not untempted
to leave this blank.

From Some Integrity. Reproduced with kind permission of Carcanet.

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