How Shortsighted of Us, to Subsume Our Tails: April 2015 PAD Chapbook Challenge, Day 10

We were so sure
we’d never need them again.
We had this walking upright thing
down pat, no need for balance or
to swing from the trees, no matter
how sweetly they called us.
We’d chop them all down instead, or
admire them from the ground, or
climb them for childish sport
and then come back down, walk
on our feet, our ridiculous hands
dangling at our sides.
Reach down — do you feel
that little cob of bone?
We could still turn this thing
around, regain our proper
branches, a new leaf nest
every night and a tail
to call our own.


I Think We All Know

Sometimes the sun is a ball of chimpanzees.
(We’re their distant cousins—we show up drunk
at all the family reunions.) Do you hear the pause
in their chattering? Do you see how they disapprove?
I feel no warmth from this kind of sun; I taste only
bitterness. It smells like we have been willfully
forgotten. Does it smell, instead, like the color of
lemon drops? In Portland, Oregon, there’s at least
one pinball machine with Elton John on it. The sun,
that orb of apes, loves and warms us in Chicago,
tells us conspiratorially how much it hates Portland.
But that’s not really important, whether chimpanzees
love us, hold us in any particular regard. YOLO! we
scream, because we cannot help ourselves and
because we know that’s what keeps our world
stitched together, not oozing and shifting under
our helpless feet. It’s time to acknowledge
the corn. The wet fence of hope demands that
we keep reaching for the stars, which is easy when
they’re lapping at our ankles, like the koi with whom
I sometimes play pinochle, euchre, or bridge. Twinkle
says the koi stars will become supernova bonobo suns
someday. But she’s only a malevolent leaf. I think
we all know the direction the koi are headed in; that’s
what all those star maps are for. But qu’est que c’est?
¿Quién es ese? The empty Scotch tape dispenser asks
pointed questions I cannot answer as the sun—the
chimpanzee sun—blinks once, scratches, considers.



For NaPoWriMo, Day 29.