Exhibit 8 is a rare aerial stylite, recovered from dimension Z,
Preserved in a pillar of salted air,
Backed by a narrow strip of slow-cured fire
Twelve million years in height,
With fresh elixir churning at the base.
Note how the photons sprayed across the pillar’s swimming surface
And – if you look close – embedded in the creature’s eyes
Reflect an ancient fire god, singing on its rippled throne.
This species – it is said – shot time from bows of dense, dark matter
And rode the light-quick arrows blind,
Tearing through each other,
Dropping their molecules over the Seaze of Luv
Or drifting on into the Withered Skins.
A wiser sect, the aerial stylites leapt into space and out of time
To find liberation in the marble moment.
This specimen – we speculate – is caught in its ascension.
With a body of rough water –
Atoms borrowed from the purer vat below,
Gathered to a mineral skeleton hewn from skerry –
It seeks to gain the pillar’s zenith by the whirl of rudimentary wings,
Its flight observed by priests of an older, more advanced species,
Concentrated upon their zenning ledges.
Note how short, quicksilver words of substance
Loll in their beaks or gestate in their throats,
Whereas the rising one emits an airy cry of meaning still unmanifest.
The dreaming labyrinth behind the stylite’s leaking eyes may be explored
(The exit routes are marked with trails of bliss – though often faint)
But until it is repaired, you are advised not to enter the heart.
This one is bursting.