From the window I can see it has already happened,
in the time it takes a tub of time to tip.
Lawn and pink impatiens pulled
inch by quick-inch under the lip.
It tumbles down the stairs in practically
no seconds: me. My saddest shoes are flat as tickets
to an exhibit that’s just appeared.
The lookalike lake is opaque as a spill in MS Paint,
as the yard before anyone saw it.
It takes my reflection under its wing.
It is cake batter, panless, tempting each direction.
Invites the eensy clovers to change behind its towel.
Which is grey, drenched, immense, curiously
gritless, silken, impossible to lift.
Maybe Google Earth has something, just here, to hide.
A vein in the brain blooped like a metallic-inked pen.
Or Celeste, Universal Dentist,
could be taking an impression of everything.
I have always loved the little sharp-edged tools.
A natural assistant, I select a spackle
blade, row out, face almost in the starless,
rudder of a nose set to “hover.”
My idea is just smooth things over.
(I’m not really talking to my husband,
who is, by the evidence, to blame—
plus, he’s busy trying to jerry-rig a barricade
with the cement’s own packaging.
Surviving fragments of the text suggest
we have less than twenty minutes.)
That’s when I notice the ant
stepping into the slow surf, matte
Jell-O on a windless expanse—
Whoa there. Hey. Hey!
She tries to turn but can’t.
Then, without a backward glance, her friend joins her.
It’s girls’ night out at Aquafit, with weights, Yes, someone has
in the deep end, and I am powerless tipped the carton
to stop them from registering. labelled “evening.”
It’s easier once you’re in, isn’t it?
says the second ant, in pheromone code, to the first,
who sweats a clumpy leg-lift.
The shadows flex and lengthen.
Whisked egg whites, soft ice cream,
blue smoothie, maple filling, wild
honey, ranch dressing, pudding with carrageenan,
barbecue drippings: a montage of pools
these gals have lapped before.
I can’t handle it anymore.
I grab a dead leaf from fall’s waterfall Disclaimer:
and scoop them out. They are two tiny elephants pouring may
towing their haunches to the statuary. affect the
Time is speeding up as the cement slows down. Season.
If I wash them clean, they’ll drown.
I should really stop looking, but, New Scene:
an earthworm spikes the surface, seamstress
pursuing her childhood dream of becoming megafauna,
a lake monster, and enjoying some early success.
She’s gained a costume’s worth of extra skin
like a hooded cobra’s crinoline
just by being in her element.
Who am I to play the skeptic?
My gaze only solidifies her fame. A dozen more ants
wade in to photograph her body with their jaws.
The trap is more complicated than any of us know.
“Should we be wearing masks?” This is the first thing
I say aloud. My husband, a man who cannot resist a homonym,
recalls a time he daubed grapefruit-scented clay
all around his eye holes. Though synthetic,
it parched like an afternoon of real sun,
the kind of singular experience statistics suggest
will add scenes to your life, stretching it.
Lines like that make me want to clock him.
I have just the trowel, twitching its shadow The end
like a minute-hand over our moonscape, dripping. is coming!
“Do you find it hard to breathe?” he asks. “The particulate…”
Yes, god yes. With all my heart.
We twang twin yellow bands around our heads
and secure our personal bubbles,
as the intercoms on aircraft instruct, “before helping others.”
Gravity, a rule I don’t especially understand,
is still visibly doing its thing.
- 96: NO THEME IXSUBMIT NOW with M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones