Carl stares at a brick because it is cracked.
The entire wall is crumbling
as he thinks about it; he wonders
if he’ll finally be buried.
I’ve talked to him about death,
and again, he tells me the same story—
“imagine the chaos of currents if hummingbirds
had underwater capabilities;
always fucking with the fish
as they dip into the hollow
of sponges with needle beaks,
burning nano-calories in their
journeys through aqua expanse,
their intentions in this ecosystem
being only to cause stimulation—
affecting waves in distant places to a microscale,
energizing the plankton shake,
confusing the hell out of sharks
who misidentify them as prey.
Eventually they’d become tank pets
or even considered a delicacy by pretentious
swine. There’d be a lone sea hummingbird staring back
through glass at the entrance of a bistro,
every time the chef hurries by.
Of course, it probably doesn’t see him at all.”
Carl and I spend the rest of the day,
out and about, walking and talking. A mild
sunrise leads us to a restaurant open late,
then sitting again at a benign table,
and he is not paying attention to me:
Mysterious rears up next to him, his eyes
fluctuate, mining the sight of a memory.
I saw him go. He diverged into a swan—
A Japanese bottle tree is incredibly thin
but stands close to ten feet high. It’s an elongated
snout of an anteater or maybe an idea
somewhere reaching past its desire to be restrained.
In the backyard, it’s far beyond its natural habitat
staked and nurtured, persuading the soil
to allow a crisp whispering.
he saw the leaves first, shadows of bleached
organic outlines, exactly entrancing. Subtle
blisters of numb from the sight of the shadows,
a cluster of leaves clinging to their lanky branch,
each branch feeling the shadows
and passive to the glow of a moon
persuading nothing. The branches like
fragments of urgent ears, but
more like the eager fingers of a new lover
confined to just being enthralled.
Branches become the trunk, involatile and mute—
a smooth invisible knight. Then the base
of the trunk, diameter of dog knuckle.
The plastic chair he sits in is about to break
from the stress of his lean
and he is sweating, generously,
as the moon’s blue acne
is gazed upon by him and
the entire half of a planet.
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