Michael Quattrone

The Kingdom

Platypuses glow in blacklight.
No idea how or why, or what those duck-
billed ravers from down under might
be hatching inside ultraviolet fur.

Scorpions, lichens, puffin beaks all pop
like pills in a basement dance hall,
morphing toward enlightenment.

Hummingbirds collect sweet data
from ultraviolet flower hues. Ocean-
dwellers make bioluminescent bait
of their own bodies, lure prey deep.

Meanwhile, humans squint in daylight,
couple at the end of evolution, pick
their blindnesses and stick to them.

Click this link for a rainbow of opossums,
a flying squirrel pink at night, the clip
of an invisible octopus at work
on the monochrome of your imagination.

Why would a platypus fluoresce?
Ask the mycologist. He knows the DJ.
At the world’s end, why not
this flash of beauty for nocturnal eyes.

Let the kingdom of lovers cut me open
when they come, hear spectral music
from the cabinet of specimens.

Sourced from “Platypuses Glow Under Blacklight. We Have No Idea Why,” by Cara Giaimo. New York Times, November 13, 2020

Michael Quattrone is the author of the chapbook, Rhinocersoses, selected by Olena Kalytiak Davis for the New School Chapbook Award in 2006. Recent poems have appeared in the Best American Poetry Blog, Poets Reading the News, and Streetlight. Michael curated the KGB Poetry series with Laura Cronk and Megin Jimenez from 2007 to 2011. He lives in Tarrytown, New York.

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Winter 2021