Menagerie All the Way Down
… after images of wild, domestic, and exotic animals during the Woolsey Fire …
No staterooms and no bears to pace them
no sound to name witness failing
the machined sigh
of a point and shoot roll half-used
in splintered casing.
Conjure now is just these crystals
in my hands: Alpacas drowning in light
to the figure of a lifeguard stand and still
the light is red as a darkroom.
Biological records are taken best
from delicate fossils of mollusk and pollen
collection has a bias that favors large specimens.
A lone owl shelters in the valence for example
between capture and salvage
where also a horse waits named
for an old TV show.
There’s a surfer girl somewhere breaking
the fourth wall, chanting
all dispossessions are louder than grief
and her hands are not hands but torches.
In the days of cartoon bedding I slept with a set
of coin banks cast in biblical shapes
beside me on the nightstand.
I rattled their hollows for music
an animal thrum, the give
of rotting decks. All I remember is methane’s scent
bubbles breaking a murky surface.
Always the ground is a shipwreck and I board it
Deep in the burning canyon there’s a rare vineyard
where staying is safer than leaving
and the penned giraffe stares back
from a barren field posing.
First the rising, then receding. In the rain’s story
green waves propel
a school of bodies as if they are swimming.
I shook the smiling tugboat the pig and lion.
I shook the clouds
glazed at rainbow’s end
until they broke to the song of spare change
The fiberglass mammoth that pantomimes sinking
is sinking. I am standing
where time placed me
like a bookmark
about the author