from The First Ape
Welcome to the circus; we are constantly mourning.
Every year, a child is crushed when the gates are opened
or trampled beneath the horses’ hooves while riding our carousel.
The leaky gas pipes converge beneath the Big Top
and once every five or six years someone falls asleep
near them. I’m not saying you’re not welcome here.
The cotton candy will keep you from growing old. The dunk-tank
and raffles are free. With the exception of the opening ceremony
it is peaceful as heaven, as we wait for next year.
What I am saying is this; there is a number so large
it is abstract. That number also fits inside another.
We are all just varying levels of small. Cold night
to be a star, says the moon to a pulsar. I am warm
as a hiccup, says the pulsar back.
There are conversations going on we cannot hear.
My wife and I gather weeds in a nearby field.
At home, she boils the water, and I tilt the spoon.
Daffodil soup in the mouth of our child.
December resembles a marrow white bone,
we dream chicken skin and dark beer.
We swallow stones the size of quarters.
This is how hungry we are. This is how full.
The plants were baffled when I began to grow legs.
The trees even more so, when I began to walk.
I lost touch with the elk when I grew these horrible thumbs.
It’s no wonder my brother and I banded together, hairless
and filled with curiosity. I thank the unequivocal birds.
They watched us skeptically, and stayed out of reach.
Dear funeral pyre, dear six-feet deep in the earth.
Wasn’t sentience enough we had to become sapient?
Dear Persephone, the beauty of a molecule
is in its changing. Have you ever seen
so many sunflowers? The BQE scatters
petals like flakes of skin. We write
about death to help us feel it. The rain
as anything but melancholy. Dear Yahweh,
I have discovered the art of naming.
I am the unused bullets, I am the broken rifle.
Dear bunker beneath the sand, I am coming.
We’ve been at war since Babel;
I believe peace is a convenience of language.
Of course we have a word for impossible.
We speak so many dialects the mouth stutters.
We were specks of dust in debris. I’m sorry,
I was spared the burden of the subjective. Last flowers
for eight-hundred billion miles, said the sign in our garden.
Dear oasis of the cosmos, can you hear yourself breathe?
Because I have replaced our eyes with topaz
the wind coming off the ocean smells like my wife.