You looked thin.
It had been years since we’d spoken truly.
Spider, ant—I tried to name your body,
as I’d tried before, when you flamed, an alligator,
from the startled water that surrounded you.
You were the one who’d convinced me--
to love for the duration, for history.
One of the pair of your eyes is a faulty fetoscope
it sees a green-ware in a stomach
surrounded by red anemone
For love’s sake if I let you have
my heart what soup will you cook with it?
I watch you marvel at how different rock can look from rock: jagged and smooth, sparkling and dusty, untouched and weathered. It keeps no secrets about the life it has lived. You have never seen anything like it. You turn around to see the other side, where the water is close to the edge. It sits perfectly still, but I watch you realize the immense pressure that its combined stillness puts on the wall where we stand. You ask how there can be drought with all this water being held back. The drought is all dead grass to me. The desert was not meant to sustain life of this magnitude.
Dowse light in a swollen clorox hallway. Lunch always consisted of throat glue and fruit rind, tin clasp shut. My brother was a year ahead, & after we entered the school, he’d turn left for the second grade classrooms. It was more crowded than the country school we had come from. When I froze still the snow drifts curled against the windows & doors. The cats lost in the forest buried the mangled bodies of chipmunks, field mice, tendril curls of mutilation shoots begging some sun down. The principal grabbed my collar, hoisted me off the floor, eye vein pulsing, told me that we don’t yell in the school hallways. That I yelled. There’s where smoke stains the days. The children stopped up in glassine vials, let them all wither. Walking home, not touching the streets, I could float between buildings invisible, wondering where an animal knows is safe to sleep. How cats find the bodies they buried.
Instead they take
to cicada shells,
the bodies already absent
from their skins. They won’t
have to explain this
moment, wordless as a holiday.