EVERYONE I LOVE IS SLEEPING
Everyone I love is sleeping
on the other side of the world.
Warm in thick blankets
and dreaming of snakes—
transformative, sexual, writhing.
Here I’m awake like it’s boot camp.
I sometimes make art
and futile motions with my hands.
I drink coffee, I jog.
Alone I chant the refrain:
Delay is the murder of beauty.
So sculpt quick, God-self,
or there will be nothing
to point to in awe
as you pass the scrubby landscape.
Everyone I love is killed
in a car crash.
It’s been ten days
but I haven’t heard yet.
When the vehicle flies
from the bridge
I’m just drunk on a beach, waiting
The dead are waiting
to tell me the story,
their faces mangled
and rotting with patience.
The God-self cuts stone into snakes
with chopped-off heads.
Beautiful all, in their way—
stone heads and bodies, scattered around a shovel
propped casually in the garden.
The power of shovels to slice through stone is implied.
Sometimes dreams die in this way, or move.
The waitress at the truck stop would not believe my story about cuckoos, but at the same time, I felt she secretly did. How they sneak their eggs into other bird nests and push out the real eggs. How the birds are dumb enough to feed babies not their own, twice their size.
No bird would fuck over another bird like that, she said, handing me the syrup. Only people do that. Her fingers clutched the string of a giant balloon on which all the tragedies of the natural world were inscribed. At once I felt inside and outside of everything—the waffles, the kitchen clanging, the sweaty, insect-riddled ancientness of the jungle.
Tree cover there divided us from the stars. Glowworms lit our way to the river, where the man was waiting in the appointed canoe. We talked about it all—the absurdity of hope and worry, how the world was falling apart. Then the man told us about piranhas: the moment one gets hooked, the others eat it right off the fishline.
The glowworms’ pulsing light glinted off our faces.
No one would make eye contact. I stared and stared at her soft cheeks until
all I saw were long teeth through the skin. Maybe the birds would rather
raise strangers than be alone in the night, I said.