Volume 64, 2019 Selected Poets and Poems
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Some nights my skin sprouts grass and buffalo come to feed.
I am one with the land and the land is one with me.
Between my toes a forest grows with love carved on every tree,
and the rocks upon my head are where eagles perch and stare
toward the pastures round my navel and all the rabbits nibbling there.
My other lives stopped by last night, impromptu.
No one knew exactly who pitched the idea
but there they were, playing darts over beers—
although a few chose wine and you-know-who
drank only lemon water with no ice. She hit
the bulls-eye twice. Then my other lives sat outside,
dangled legs along the stone wall, watched scattered stars
spin low above the fixed points of themselves.
Forgiveness came up, a fine mist gentling the night,
but an argument broke out over what happened when
and who chose what, launched a search for tangible proof,
old boxes dragged from eaves and ripped wide with cries
of recognition. Followed by silence. Followed by
more silence. Followed by that soft but solid sound
a lie told to no one but the self makes when it falls
like a small stone dropped down a well.
All my lives felt it as it fell into the still pool of each self.
The evening ended there. Most everyone wandered off
but the core remained, two of them, on lawn chairs,
wrapped in quilts, looking across a wide dark field,
as if its hidden undulations were as much of the past
as they could agree on. And that seemed fair.
You get fat if you eat cake
cookies are full of saccharides
chocolate keeps you awake
fruit’s got lots of pesticides.
In bacon there are nitrates
and arsenic residues in rice
eating white bread constipates
butcher baby lambs? Not nice.
What with heavy metals in fish
with bad cholesterol in meat
and sneaky poison in every dish
to keep alive, just don’t eat.
upon hearing the fantasia by Orlando Gibbons
It was his idea to build a house.
Only kindergartners, we could dispense
with sight lines, the surveyor’s
quadrant, cement bubbling into
Instead we started with the largest blocks
we could find, setting down a multi-
colored foundation on a small, squarish
upright table. Of this young man
I remember nothing except he promised
to find more before disappearing from view.
Up to then I had never lost anyone.
Anticipation made me lean over
from that not inconsiderable height,
falling forward like the upended statues
after the earthquake, none of them
so lucky as to have a school nurse
practicing the art of head bandages.
Stoic I emerged from the school bus,
a mummy child bemoaning
my vanished beau.
So what else is new,
and here endeth the first lesson.