A nice melding of science and verse from the poet, research scientist, and field ecologist, Katherine Larson, and her first collection. To save you the trouble of looking it up, crypsis is the ability of an organism to avoid observation or detection by other organisms. And mimicry, in this context, is the resemblance of one organism to another or to an object in its surroundings for concealment and protection from predators
“Crypsis and Mimicry”
Crypsis for the way that things are hidden.
How certain small truths disappear against
a larger truth. The way my Cajun friend explains
bouillabaisse as the synthesis of red snapper and crab,
oysters, mussels, and crayfish. Garlic and orange
peel. Dry white wine. A fusion of the senses.
So autumn slips into the swamplands
with glossy alligator eyes. We talk of love potions
while drinking café noir. Powdered lizards
and tender missives scrawled with blood. How her
grandmother crushed peach seeds with stones
to draw dirt to the bottom of a pail of bayou water:
a speckled fish could flatten itself against those
sediments and simply fade away. She used to dream
there was a hole in the bucket and so the task
was never-ending. That’s crypsis—
everything against intrinsic terrain dissolves in it.
Mimicry is different. It’s you stroking my throat
as if I’m a bird. It’s me pretending in your arms to be a bird.
I am not a bird. I remember reading how the Curies’ laboratory
would glow at night; Marie wrote
of the enchantment of those luminous silhouettes.
I used to believe that science was only concerned
with certainty. Later, I recognized its mystery.
There isn’t language for it—
The way I can see you when you are shining.
Our roots crypsis, our wings mimicry.