Happy World Poetry Day
“This is where we keep our dead,”
We explain. “Many of them.
Though some we burn, and, long ago,
We wrapped them in cloth and
Chemicals, for keeping.”
Crystals, crucifix, curio cabinets,
We are creatures who keep,
With hands so small
We must carry rucksacks
Must build our places of shelter
Large enough to hold our memories.
Devotional in our carrying, like the
Magpie or crow, entranced and loving,
Nostalgic for the time of woodfire
And camp, much of us looking
At nomadic peoples with that
Othering eye, admiration and pity.
Obsessive, our minds disquieted by difference, by sameness
Returning to the blackness between the stars —
And stories, oh how we love the narrative,
The unseen hand of collective consciousness
Framing, collapsing, winding our heroine
Down dark stairwells, the redemptive arc
Of the addict who looks into the basin
One last time, clawing their way back to grace.
The existential struggle, the dust in our hair,
The clash of we-against-me versus me-become-we,
A climax, a denouement, some of us so very neat
In our packaging,
and the rest of us laugh at the French for ending the novel
Yet the biological thrust of it all underscores everything.
Colors become art, the shapeless wonder of void
Turned to form, inert and desirous, until the plumes of
Volcanic matter destroy, the salted waves of ocean
Erode the mountain, water rooted so deep we can only imagine
The base as space-like, our aliens modeled on the spiny tenterhooks
Of what light forgot.
Clasping fingers like shutters, the physicality
Of tightness, nearness, the sensation
Of lightning striking the tallest tree, this, this,
The gasp, the embrace, the carving of our
Initials in the insides of lover’s throats,
The sound of midday sun burning off the mist —
We are. We were. We will be.
“Ask us more about ourselves.”
We gesture, broadly.
“There is much to tell.”