the promise of a peach
to make us dig holes and
to make us water and weed
for long and fruitless years –
the flesh will surely be sweeter.
Just what am I supposed to know?
what limit was charted before we were born –
what is in the darkness, there,
too far from the sun to see,
is it truth? is it
as false as every past truth?
is it merely more shadow
blended but distinct
in the unknown cosmos?
and how am I to know it is forbidden –
until the sweet juice drizzles down my fingers
and it is known.
could G-d kill Superman
or a level 35 wizard/warrior gish build?
could you look through the subway car
and rank each person by skill and toughness,
and accurately predict
who will die from heatstroke and who
could beat a mugger to submission?
Will you look deeply into your child’s eyes
as you present cake and candle,
then rush to the nearest computer,
frantic to edit their statsheet?
and which is the statistic
that measures your love?
under streets and
lining the canals, on bridges,
in walls, skittering,
resting by windows,
in the earth
before the plow, and aft-
you do not even see them
unless you’re looking,
unless someone points them out while you
look through, above,
everywhere except them –
who trained you so?
are you too weak to bear the sight?
too cowardly to lift your eyes?
do not worry,
with proper practice
even vermin may gaze at stars.
The dogs are waiting patiently for
any hand to feed;
the birds line up in neat little galleries;
the cats bob their heads – good day, good day –
as they saunter the streets in
their white-glove affairs.
We see the human in them,
we think, though perhaps,
humans are simple and
quite polite animals.
the hungry dog will do
whatever it must,
plead at first and whimper,
scan the world with too-big eyes,
will pace, will
paw at cabinets,
the hungry dog does not understand,
does not comprehend,
the hungry dog will growl, will
the hungry dog will lay down,
and never think to feast
on the remains of a master.
is this hate or
an interruption of the lungs,
is this a feeling or
a portent of death;
is this what I am
when no-one is looking;
is this what I seek
when all else has been found?
The perfect day will never arrive –
always some issue,
some delayed bus or
the best we can do is admire it
like brushstrokes caked into the painting –
does that not add something,
make it something more than ideal –
The me in the mirror is truest of all,
seen from without –
all image, no substance,
a stranger in shape,
familiar yet backwards,
and yet if I focus
and contort my thought,
I can imagine this stranger
They cut away but we know,
we know what happens,
we know if it’s meant to be
flames crawling over a pile of bodies,
they aren’t allowed to show us
so it’s ours to show ourselves,
we know it’s missing for a reason –
perhaps it’s just too realistic –
we know the hardest things to see,
the things that make muscles squirm,
are always the most realistic.