- there are creatures whose footsteps survive them in places,
- filled with the fossilized remains of what dropped
- from their mouths as wisdom.
- where they fell they decayed and their remains and the remains of their vegetable
prey gradually condensed so that, glacier-chewed, it didn’t matter
what they were because now they are coal and they rest in eternal pieces
- in beds of shale and silt and dirt.
- the sea dwindles yet
- and the ground is not steady
- undermined as it is by miles of tunnels
- some of them man-made
- which collapse under the weight of the mechanical beasts
- after the coal-miner’s product
- heedless of the effort to lug that black rock
- from those bleak, narrow holds,
- pores in the earth that leave on the skin a dark cast
- till every white sheet on the washing room line
- carries an imprint of a man stretched out like a fossil.
- motives were what drove us out at night
- acting out our mother’s secrets in the streets
- oh, she with the purified air and he with the reputation. it was
the talk of the town and why did she do it, fair, young thing that she was
and him a no account from birth. oh heaven help us when it gets to this—a
woman is not safe from a man’s attention. oh, how they stare,
just like they could see right through ya.
- but who saw through whom?
- on that blizzard night when all the coal went white and he asked her
to dance? who saw through whom as he escorted her from the hall
and she with dainty slippers on her feet and nothing on her head?
everyone knew he had a soul as black as sin and she was no exception. did
she really think he’d take her home?
- well he didn’t, did he?
- but he didn’t force her.
- she said no.
- he said walk.
- she tried to, fey creature in the snow
- but the ground collapsed beneath her, undermined as she was by her sense of honor and his pride.
- how frail we are against the elements;
- who do we think we are
- and does the snow care?
- there once was a dream:
- a deer, a doe, was dying but wouldn’t die, couldn’t
comprehend the subtle implications of her body. she came to a human
couple—a man and a woman—to be saved from her fate. they
didn’t take her for anything other than a wild creature acting
strange and carried her everywhere they went, taking care not to trail
her thin, spindley legs in the snow. it wasn’t until a hunter
revealed to them that the doe was contaminated that the couple knew
they would have to kill her to preserve the way of things. they
wondered why she didn’t know to do this herself and, so
wondering, were startled by noises they heard in the yard, growling
noises, gutteral and deep, and then a cough. in the silence the
humans rushed out to find the doe dead, her throat torn open
and fallen into the snow and the weight of her was resting on the
corpse of her killer, a dog to whom she’d given her scent.
- there is this that
- a creature in motion in response to conditions
- can only be said to have experienced
- laughter retroactive the facts of the situation.