Clues from the Animal Kingdom
In real life
it’s the living who haunt you.
It seems you’re here again, pitching the weight of the bruise you call a body
against the world that eludes you.
Or is it the sky, ethereal, cloud-coffined, that bears down on you like a carnival
at closing time, dimming of light
and echo of voices that must be the wind, lost in the sun-stroke hours,
the blood-laced ferns.
Some species of spiders will eat their mothers when food is scarce
What are we afraid of? Nothing specific, just the speed of light and sound,
the usual concerns
that the bullet will hit before we hear the gunshot. That’s how we pass
the summer, tuned
to the city’s dangers in the shimmer and glow of the captured neon
flickering in the distance.
Cows can sleep standing up but only dream when lying down
I’ve seen you pretend to be a dinosaur and lumber across a dew-sopped lawn,
terrifying yourself and others,
drunk on some potion you said you found. Mainly you slump, curl
into a ball,
small enough to fit in a bottle, to captain the ship inside toward a future
that doesn’t contain you.
Ants never sleep
If I ask, Where are you going, is there an answer? I expect you to mime
the pulling of a rope,
the shrinking of a box. A napalm shower, the rain explodes and fires up
Keep in mind as you look at the sky for signs of meteors,
the dinosaurs had no choice.
A cobra can bite as soon as it is born
I know I need to make this clearer, to bridge the gap between fact and fiction,
between earth and outer space.
I know the space between us is greater than the distance
between snow and fire.
I know it would take a metaphysician to rearrange our molecules, make gold
from the lead our lives have become.
A drop of alcohol will make a scorpion go crazy and sting itself to death
I’m saying, don’t go; don’t escape from the neighborhood of love
you’re convinced burned down.
Should I admit I’m talking to myself again, as it is when I pray?
It is as it has always been.
Flies always buzz in the key of F
What I learned from the mosquito: the one that hums is not the one
that takes your blood.