Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Personhood of Great Apes

Giraffes will kick their children over
when they try to stand at birth.

The nature special exhibits this
sad comedy as it happens time

and time again, until the infant
stands on wobbling knees and takes

a step backward to catch itself.
Then the mother starts to run.

John says this is what god intended
parenting to be, formative and

brutal––Kara says he's full of something
she fails to enunciate as the child

hefts its still-damp lank, takes
a buckling step and begins

to sprint. Commercials follow, buttoning
the moment shut, and I think, among

the empty pizza boxes and the couch
cushions none of us can stop

eviscerating piece by tiny piece, maybe
this is time's estranging project: that

every memory recalled can be altered;
that even when you tell the truth

someone will think you are lying.

Join the circus:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blood Travels

In the planetarium, an indigo bunting,
wings clipped to keep her away
from the falsely turning sky, navigates

toward the most stationary star. She will
do the same given a sky full of made-up
constellations. She recalibrates in days.

Long haul truckers drive
the circumference of earth in distance
and continue, like starting a novel

over again the moment it is finished.
The tree upheaves the sidewalk daily.
Your blood travels miles per hour.

When you understand what you are
running from, the difference between
exploration and exile is negligible,

the quarter mile of platform
past the depot beckons you to chase
after every departing train.

Friday, January 07, 2011

On Viewing Family Photos After Christmas Dinner

My aunt's yellowing fingernail traces
her nervous smile, and this is when
I'm wondering whether I'll live
to see next year.
Trust her to drop
this into casual conversation––
the growing fetus, her desperate
youth––then leave the moment
to hang like a dislocated limb.
In sixth grade gym, Tony Bower's arm
twisted, vine-like away from his body.
We were told not to look, though
all of us did as the teacher rested
a foot on his chest, told Tony,
told us all, he would count to three.
He pulled on two. Her son walks in,
and though he tells her, tells us,
don't be melodramatic, I hear
a limb being steadied, grasped,
wrenched back into place.