The Desert

Why don’t more animals pass through here? Dale asked
There were none
But sounds
shifting in thick oil
behind the cement wall
that kept precisely those animals out

the moon was rising
a bruise was rakish on the moon’s right brain
A coyote to the southwest on the roof of the hotel
birds, nightbirds   a dog

Why didn’t more animals pass through
The strangulation of the self
to alert the family   by way of torched skin
and a thin buoy of breathing
to one’s individuality
as a service
to extinction   personal in-fruition

Is Jupiter red? One star was the question
meeting itself in the atom-sphere

Animals were parading eating the mustards
and ants   fallen fruits

a grapefruit? I asked.
a pear, Dale said.

We were in the sly suburbs, sitting by a swimming pool
The lack of animals was the consequence
of enforcement   the prospectus of looking
at oneself   and seeing an end the end
when the ark has been sent off
depleted in the mirage of heat
curling the horizon
to the contemplation of the human
on the shore

the contemplation is impatient
Why stammer   animals are on the roof
in the trees   the wall that starts at the ground
fences, applications,
hedgerows, motion lights
gates, kitchen windows,

animals are abundant
Why don’t more humans pass through here?

Related Poems

Move

Whether it’s a turtle who drags herself
Slowly to the sandlot, where she digs
The sandy nest she was born to dig

And lay leathery eggs in, or whether it’s salmon
Rocketing upstream
Toward pools that call, Bring your eggs here

And nowhere else in the world
, whether it is turtle-green
Ugliness and awkwardness, or the seething
Grace and gild of silky salmon, we

Are envious, our wishes speak out right here,
Thirsty for a destiny like theirs,
An absolute right choice

To end all choices. Is it memory,
We ask, is it a smell
They remember,

Or just what is it—some kind of blueprint
That makes them move, hot grain by grain,
Cold cascade above icy cascade,

Slipping through
Water’s fingers
A hundred miles

Inland from the easy, shiny sea?
And we also—in the company
Of our tribe

Or perhaps alone, like the turtle
On her wrinkled feet with the tapping nails—
We also are going to travel, we say let’s be

Oblivious to all, save
That we travel, and we say
When we reach the place we’ll know

We are in the right spot, somehow, like a breath
Entering a singer’s chest, that shapes itself
For the song that is to follow.