Poetry

Midges

Jake Crist

Invisible in shade they dizzy shafts
Of sunlight the oaks let through, in funnel-lifts,
Like blurred ether or scrambled oxygen.
From afar they’re chimney smoke in columns;
Or, miniaturized, Blake’s young sweepers
Unlocked from their black coffins and leaping,
Laughing, cavorting, sporting in the wind;
Or a version of the tree denizened
With angels Blake saw when he was nine.

Annunciations happen all the time.
Encounter plus a posture of consent:
A messiah might hide in a second spent
Open-eyed, inclined to occasion it.
Then again, it might not, though a habit
Of seraphic vigilance might well be
It’s own reward. So might the shimmery
Pillared cloud of a million mating flies
That one instant overshadows you, then dies.

Jake Crist Jake Crist is a poet whose poems have appeared recently in Poetry, Subtropics, and Threepenny Review. He lives in Columbus, Ohio, and works at a supportive housing nonprofit.
Originally published:
September 1, 2020

Featured

Essays

The Abortion Stories We Tell

Do we need to be more radically honest?
Maggie Doherty

Essays

A Glass Essay

Reading Anne Carson post-breakup
Sarah Chihaya

Essays

For Argument's Sake

In praise of high school debate
Becca Rothfeld

You Might Also Like

Poetry

As the Rain Comes Down Harder

Carl Phillips

Poetry

After Death

Roger Reeves

Poetry

Mushmouf’s Maybe-Crown

Phillip B. Williams

Subscribe

New perspectives, enduring writing. Subscribe to The Yale Review and receive four beautiful print issues per year.
Subscribe