Who Is It Who Fails The Test of Suburban Propriety So Completely?

By | 15 May 2023

come in under the tablecloth with me,
trefoil and dandelion spur. You,
soft-bladed violet and humming sting-
less native bee, slip inside too.

Beneath this humid hum-
an penumbra
this green
is itself already anthropic: a base

Relief, a carpeted maquette,
a hillside coaster slipped
between these jotted greyscale dwellings
and nature’s marrow, one
crewcut lawn at a time, one tiled
drive, one retaining wall, one storm drain.
Until there intervenes

A single small domain
of lion’s tooth unfettered and canker-wort,
monk’s head, witch-gowan and pissenlit,
of flaxen cities crowned
on globose pinheads.
Whose is it? Who is it

Who fails the test of suburban
propriety so completely?
Here he is, tethered,
shifting from phenomen-
ology to pharmacopoiesis
on this circuit, asking

His phone what calamity
might befall the dog if he eats this this-
tle, his eyes
stretched taut across our infrastructure’s tensile skin:
flora, macadam, detritus,

skeleton pipes and orchards,
conduits, clotting lipids.
We have remade this world
even the parts
we don’t think of as ours,

We don’t stay out
of the valley
below Richmond
even if we seem to leave it to the black snakes,
the burnweed and the jacaranda.
But listen:

To the water
outwitting our sentences
one beachfront patio at a time.
To the sand in cosmic teaspoons
besetting our waterholes and gas tanks.

To the sounds
gone ahead unheard on a dead world or
one with red sky only &
small things plotting,
abiding, or departing
in the soil the sough

And sizzle of small rocks against
larger ones, no pennants
for the wind ’s teeth to comb
upon this airless hillside, how would.
You describe

This hexapod orchestra
its oboed saws and fricatives,
its grassy shawms & sighs
expelled from occluded orifices and faces
to one who never had such as ears?

Here we made the rocks that cried
and unmade them—
We are figments

Of the earth’s slow changes,
we pareidolias of the continents’ subductive
self-erasures: they shiver.
Stretch their backs
with the thought of us.
We are oil
for something’s future

And then the world,
a pit picked clean

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