Jane Springer

Leave It Lay Where Jesus Flung It
August 15, 2011 Springer Jane

Leave It Lay Where Jesus Flung It


What a colossal wrong fall she took—that mastodon caught
several stories down in underwater muck thought:

fuck. & wanted banjo—not this: fretted plunge towards fossil—
sun’s gold tone-ring diminishing. All summer archeologists

in wetsuits scope out ribs in the spring & miss the postmortem
marvel: silver fingerpicks dart bone sockets, grow gills

in her sawgrass wrapped cranium. That’s how bad she wanted
banjo—while sinking, archaeopteryx varmints circling

the surface. Small moon on which she strummed what would
evolve without her: Sparrow, savior, galax licks—air

bubbles blowing out her trunk. No not her trumpet—What
a Wonderful World’s—bright brass belongs to Satchmo &

she’d die anonymous as pearl inlay or those heroines drowned
in murder ballads. For all eternity’s a chorus of rogue

villains slipping roofies in your swamp when you’re a mastodon
clawhammering a busted clavicle past the watery brink

of boomalacka while Cro Magnons carve spears from the bank
& a butterfly sails past the alligator’s teeth. All the world’s

a neck drawn out the spring’s belly where docked glass-bottom
boats rock & research teams mark the dig site with yellow

tape—a crime scene to beached yokels, sweating August for the
long dismembering. Soldout little snackshop & the diving

platform’s closed. Leave her bones I want to say to the craneman
angling for a coccyx. What mastodon worth her salt would

want this climate controlled museum where she’s headed, Muzak
streaming out the artificial cave? But the hook falls in with

a twang. Think you know what’s possible? Each misstep unearths
a miracle: Where the mastodon’s still double thumbing away

her last mistake—algid currents whorl a bridge from her left tusk.

Jane Springer is the author of Dear Blackbird, and Murder Ballad. Forthcoming is Moth. Her work’s been featured in The Best American Poetry and Pushcart anthologies, and she’s received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the MacDowell Artist’s Colony, and the Whiting Foundation.