Sunday, February 27, 2005



A man who knows more than me is easy to find—

the papers are filled up with them

and so too the public airwaves

buzzing with coded sound, with compressed

image. And this one, this man

tells me, as though he were speaking

only to me, that we’re evolving

to eat mush. Of all mammals,

our teeth are the worst, weakest

because we grew thumbs, invented

javelins and sledgehammers and cudgels

and whatever was killed

was cooked soft over a fire,

something we did not much improve

until jellied napalm dropped

from the pregnant bellies of planes.

And mush is all I seem to eat

these days while the tv buzzes

its way through plot,

while the last iterations of winter pile up

outside my door

which is cold to touch

at night, which I opened last week

to find a small pile of change

and a red swath of vomit.

Never let it be said the universe deals

in anything but the inscrutable.

I imagined the grief

of the stranger

who leaned against the wall

and whatever poison worked inside them

and I imagined the shameful ease

that settled in them

when it was over

and though it casts me a fool

I thanked them for whatever

was in their pockets

which they left as a kind of apologetic pittance.

And I set to the grim

cleaning. What does one do

with a tiny windfall,

besides wash it repeatedly?

I bought coffee for a friend,

watched her stir in milk, sugar, cinnamon,

all the sweetnesses

so harmful to our mammalian teeth.

To her broken heart

I talked until

I too was empty

and whatever I left behind was not enough.

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