permafrost swallowed a house in my dreams

 

i woke up to the nightmare

of my house swallowed in snow.

in greenland we watch

floorboards fall through the fluxing ice

 

 / only the roof was left i 

wanted to crawl into the attic window

to smell the wood of it. 

i wanted to curl into the chest 

 

too heavy to lift / filled with quilts. 

/ when the permafrost melts, little

bubbles pop when they reach the

top of the lake nearby. 

 

we watch the gases go skyward, they

meet with the geese going south.

the geese say, 

methane has lives beyond any wads of old swamp on fire.

 

i know the frost wants to stay tired, 

asleep. be the feverish girl immobile, 

a frozen frog on top of a log. 

once fully awake, it's hard

 

to go back to sleep. you know what i mean.

a snow-sucked home is always met by

one tomorrow in a smokescreen. so the next night,

/ a fire swallowed a house in my dreams.

 

_______________

 

 

unavoidable cavities & unexportable grass

(after camille dungy)

 

you ask if i speak for the zoo & i’ll tell you

while pacing under a plastic sun & sky / i

mused a square into expansion, danced

in it before it pulled itself back / 

 

rats scurried as i said / i speak for the tigers, 

the tigresses, the lions, the cat exhibit. i speak

in echoes that greet the starers & scare them, 

but from the time before they came... /

 

i’ve remained dazed in the dentist’s eyes,

anesthetized, canines scrubbed of chub’s plaque

& disease. i am sustained on meat which sticks 

between. so when i’m under, they scrape out rot & /

 

i scheme / of breezes on super hot evenings,

of sapid spices, an itchy back scratched on rough bark.

i know of longing & i know of foreign trees, 

i speak in the only tongue i know /

 

echoes / fill me when i wake. a slow blink

never brings back what was on the mind. you

in your rise from the brink of sleep, 

know exactly what i mean /

 

but it lingers, longer & stickier every time. 

you ask if i know of the concrete beneath me

& i’ll tell you softer ground is hard to find

when i seek out the moon /

 

it sometimes finds its way to my wall, 

still a weakling in its brightest phase.

when i seek out grass, raw & wavering, 

i am always told to go to sleep /

 

 

_______________

 

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conquest

I. 

you think you know me right up to the lead fire. 

countless kin have returned to the earth this way, / so my 

cousin killed your pet in february / it was scarce times & she

was pushed to the boundaries of the park by another pack. 

you think it a proud thing: to hunt the master of, 

to unpelt me with gloved hands / 

use my teeth, they’re strung around your neck. 

II. 

what happened to the underbrush? / it went / 

i surmised this as the weight of those bullets hit flesh.

could you not have theorized? / the elk sprang up &

sang a chorus of irregular rustles. they ate 

the entire place, the only time / i’ve seen roots 

removed from the earth like that. / now the ground 

turns to mud when it thunders. 

III. 

to stumble is to be waiting for first words. 

yet when the herd ventured to be grazeless 

in the next state, the oldest tripped over rocks 

& swayed as in gale / i trailed them to wyoming, easier 

when the antlers began to splinter & stuck 

out of thick mud. at what capacity 

do bones begin to break?

 

IV. 

to you, our place is dragged across asphalt. as if the mange didn’t drive us mad enough

 / body heat blown in the colder direction. 

but from your sight, that infrared is eliminated. 

so what you see is a manticore, a visible, hollow threat of gore in the forest that you live near. & yet, 

full brush for cover & abundant elk is expected.