The children had a secret base for their fleet, an island | in the long grass || A secret base is an important thing, like memory or a heart | a place from which you may launch your operations, or retreat to, if things do not go quite to plan | They had strategists within their ranks, and visionaries and engineers | Among their vessels were strange submersibles, which left trails of milky phosphor in their wake, and sported weapons as elegant and apt as those | of duellist swordfish and narwhals | ships | Verne would have adored | or tyrants | died for || They knew the land | and with intricate measures of reconnaissance | kept watch on the moving forces of neighbouring states | and devised | elaborate systems for sending messages | They spotted things the adults | overlooked | details | of a knee-high world | and read | their spies’ reports | coins gleaming in dirt, and | from the wasteland of the nettles | the jagged white butterflies’ | semaphore | They kept their knowledge safe, encrypted in special codes | cached in bottles and huts | scattered in locations | around their hidden island || Yet, for all of this, their intelligence was limited, and they did not foresee | the source of the catastrophe | that would befall them; nor, at their age, did they suspect | the threat that | impends above us all, and which | conceals itself in emptiness || Stunned, and open-mouthed, in the dust, the blades still wet, they stared and inhaled | the haunting waves of summer breaking | over the bared ground | and almost drowning them | in passing scents of new-mown grass

Basking in the ocean depths of words, sharks of silence | wait out the centuries and feel inside them | and their obdurate bones | a kinship with the dinosaurs | The day arranges its pieces, calm and composed as ever: the time of your next appointment, the svelte procedures of superconductors, laughter after the light-hearted demonstrations of my genius, and the snake’s tongue glimmer as the lightning | slips back to its secret base


from the series hypergrammar (open-ended, 2012–present)

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