I have some theories that revolve around
the swallows’ drift
then sudden angled dive,
& others that center around picking up the dry
sticks of worms
two days after a rainstorm.
I have many more about the soft horizon
of your hips. One
of my greatest doctrines
involves the blue weather systems that snake by
at night, although
the starlings crammed
in the eaves, balancing on a banister of light
give it a run
for its money.
Some days nothing makes sense. But then I stumble
into a ditch filled
with the asterisks
of chicory & hubcaps, & the spokes
of some beat up old
bike point out
toward the edges of space, explaining everything.
When your father orders you to get rid of those damn chipmunks
running amok in the backyard rock wall, tunneling their unmappable
maps into the dirt, no problem!: just fill a bucket with water,
pour enough seeds in to float on the water's skin, then create
a nice welcoming ramp of plywood. It's just so funny to watch
the little critters run up the ramp & jump onto what looks like a pile
of seeds but then fall through & drown—ha ha!—& all you have to do
at the end of the day is take the dozens of them—
dozens! It's that easy!—back into the woods behind your house
& pile them there, & BOOM—your father pays you a buck a corpse
while all you really did was sit inside & play Nintendo
having the time of your life while you're just raking it in!
Best. Job. Ever. They'll never eat his sunflower stalks again. They'll never
eat anything again! Ha! Meanwhile the problem is: while you're playing
Nintendo, the new guy is on the news saying climate change is a hoax
implanted in our minds by the Chinese, but then he about-faces & says
there may be some connectivity (sic) (right? Sic is what you write
when someone says something ass in nine & you want to be sure the reader
knows the speaker & not you is the ass in nine one? Whatever.
Point is: there may be some connectivity (sic) between humans & climate
change. & it's like: the volume button's all the way across the room,
& I'm not getting off the couch to change it because I'm being attacked
by a bunch of purple aliens. Where's my little brother when I need him?
Anyway the anchor misspells terrorists as terrarists—T-E-R-R-A-
& then makes up an excuse for it by saying that this new word is about
people who profit from environmental destruction. Those loony lefties would
probably call me a terrarist just because I live to kill little fuzzy pixilated animals
with three purple horns & pink bows in their hair, live for the sweet sound
of bloopbloop bloopbloop each time one of them dies. Dirty little monsters
(the ones with horns & the ones in congress, what's the big diff? Haha!).
Day after day, game after game to play, your thumb almost numb
from the joystick & button slamming, bucket after bucket of dead
to toss out, then one day you approach the bucket a little slower
due to the small splashing noises & find one of those creatures
keeping himself afloat by balancing on the back of one of his dead
brothers. You quickly run the bucket to the woods & dump the corpses
& expect the living one to run off, but here's the thing: instead
he just stands there on his back legs, staring at you, his eyes penetrating
not only your eyes but years & years of your dreams, like... into the future.
Man, that stare. I told my dad I was done, the fate of his sunflowers
be damned. I don't know much about them terrarists, but I know
that if they ever saw a stare like that, they'd be done, too. It's like way worse
than being attacked in a video game. It's like that chipmunk's stare
is an invisible plank that I have to climb up on, & I do, & I climb
right through his eyes & turn around, & there I am, a stinking chipmunk watching
all my family drown around me. & so, maybe it's stupid but, like, okay:
maybe I hope everyone gets to climb through the eyes of those they hurt,
because, like, I know it sucks that the game will be over—
cue the downward swirling sounds of pixellated defeat—but then
maybe winning the game was always about draining the water & tossing out
the seeds, & maybe you get a satisfying bloopbloop sound each time a chipmunk
eats a seed instead of drowns. Bloopbloop. Bloopbloop. Bloopbloop.
Nickel & rupee, centavo & baht tossed for good fortune
into a Thailand fountain turned cataclysmic in the stomach
of the green sea turtle—subsequently (& lamentably) nicknamed “Bank”—
a resident at a conservation center, no less, in Sri Racha. Shine & shine:
too much shine to resist, even for this animal whose fare
usually consists of seagrass & algae, & this new metallic diet
has grown heavy: five pounds of human grease & sheen
in her stomach, making it easier to sink than swim,
the exaggerated dig of the front flippers, the strain toward the surface
for air, the ventral shell fractured under the weight, splitting
under each stroke. General anesthesia & a four inch incision:
five surgeons withdraw 915 coins from Bank's stomach.
The blank eyes out-torpor torpor as the slot regurgitates
metal, catching the relentless light.All she can see is vague figures
swaying above, the way the stream of conservatory visitors
used to ripple & wrinkle through the water's veil.