167. collected, both gods and feet

the book of instructions, laid-by, forgotten,
soggy and stained was out-brought, wiped off, and
though it was neat (once it had been bleached),
they found it had been written all in chinese

asterisk ordered a council of four to
divine from the squiggles *something*, he knew
if they could find a meaning, a sign,
it might be all wrong, but nobody’d mind

caspar, and knee-toad, alarm bells, commode,
all of them pulled from the ranks of the job — 
jobs are the juicers, the priests, and the proofers
(exchange rate as follows: 4 jobs to one jesus)

collapsed on, caught-up creating a meaning,
picked apart, prodded, produced an appealing
message beneath, it was just the one word — 
it told them they ought (still) to head north

ottomans out! was the wagon train’s name,
plastered on placards above as they railed,
ran alongside, or slopped with the sled dogs,
pulling the boiler out of the peat bogs

i wonder if when you’ve wheeled on your own
in carriages made of twigs and whale bone,
have you considered the prospect, the punctures,
of a mud puddle trip through the summer tundra?

the first thing they found in the mushy ground
was earthquake erase (he’d thawed out by now) — 
they buried his brains (the rest had been eaten)
and handed his helmet to earthquake (of equals)

here’s a big chunk of the narrative missing,
mostly because there’s not much to fill it — 
next thing we know it’s night-time, but lo!
there’s nothing for miles but solid ice flow

the ottomans, all, the boiler of ben,
had made it, at last, to margaret’s ken — 
what would she do, what’d she reveal them,
and how would the don’t-it try to impede them?