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 /
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.
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.
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?
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.