Slanting light casts onto a stucco wall the shadows of upwardly zigzagging plum branches. I can see the thinning of branches to the very twig. I have to sift what you say, what she thinks, what he believes is genetic strength, what they agree is inevitable. I have to sift this quirky and lashing stillness of form to see myself, even as I see laid out on a table for Death an assortment of pomegranates and gourds. And what if Death eats a few pomegranate seeds? Does it insure a few years of pungent spring? I see one gourd, yellow from midsection to top and zucchini-green lower down, but already the big orange gourd is gnawed black. I have no idea why the one survives the killing nights. I have to sift what you said, what I felt, what you hoped, what I knew. I have to sift death as the stark light sifts the branches of the plum.
Stopped in cars, we are waiting to accelerate
along different trajectories. I catch the rising
pitch of a train—today one hundred nine people
died in a stampede converging at a bridge;
radioactive water trickles underground
toward the Pacific Ocean; nickel and copper
particulates contaminate the Brocade River.
Will this planet sustain ten billion people?
Ah, switch it: a spider plant leans toward
a glass door, and six offshoots dangle from it;
the more I fingered the clay slab into a bowl,
the more misshapen it became; though I have
botched this, bungled that, the errancies
reveal it would not be better if things happened
just as I wished; a puffer fish inflates on deck;
a burst of burnt rubber rises from pavement.