an essay on midges

by Jan Wagner

as if all the letters had suddenly
floated free of a paper
and formed a swarm in the air;

they form a swarm in the air,
of all that bad news telling us
nothing, those skimpy muses, wispy

pegasuses, only abuzz with the hum
of themselves, made from the last twist
of smoke as the candle is snuffed,

so light you can hardly say: they are –
looking more like shadows, umbrae
jettisoned by another world

to enter our own, they dance, their legs
finer than anything pencil can draw,
with their miniscule sphinx-like bodies;

the rosetta stone, without the stone.