Tiny glassed domes rising from pores
spill into trails
salting the lips,
Slick and breathless under
a screen flickering
every angle of the terrible cleaving.
inversion, a litter of bodies
in the desert. Children jostled,
fenced camps, a flashback
between camera cuts.
We pretend to miss
Our border a wormhole to the valley
of the lost. Smugglers and thieves,
fanged men who know all the places you’d hide
your last bill.
Sun a switchblade shearing shadow from cliff.
Merciless sky. Bottomless hunger.
Vultures at the meat
Same stuff as this precious machine
pressed to a hypothesis
on a lateral elliptical
striding in a half-squat across
a fan-cooled virtual expanse.
LED display of miles covered (three) while going here
and here and still again
here. Calories burned (361)
the churning through of food poured down
an always wide-awake craving.
As insatiable as a naked bird. As undiscerning.
Floors scaled. Heart rate. Average MPH.
Metrics of progress towards
what? The collapsing tunnel?
Rivers who swallow
without bothering to chew?
Mechanical success marked
on a flashpaper scorecard
in novelty ink.
No evidence except the body itself
primed with stink and pulse,
the gleaming of voluntary
heat. A collection of cell and sinew
identical almost down to the DNA
of those who vanish
so how to explain the wild disparities in respective
Caprice of geography?
Let’s ditch the bromides of birth and fortune
and dumb, mean luck.
(Whose history? Whose victory?
In whose tongue the moral tale?)
An arbitrary name, a specious race
striving to win
so much like the skin
and every wet ache it holds.
This muscle throbs against its tethers
surging to tap the swelling stores and
close the distance,
to raise around you
a gleaming dome,
shield and spring, a way
Image: Andrea Joyce Haimer, “If I did not find you will I always live in a world of ghosts” (2018)