SLASH AND BURN
Say you’re wild dog or sleepy cheetah
kissed by sun through smoke, flushed tumbling
out of womb with afterbirth a sauce on dirt.
Is fear just a quint without mother’s milk?
The others, scrambling for nipples, yapping
eyeless desires in baobab heaven.
Today my model friend’s in Paris, France.
In grand hotel, she reads the morning news.
They’re digging out her window and she smokes.
The subject of her story, Health Physics:
to push the outside of the envelope
of what a body can take—rems, heat, half-
lives, ultra-violent rays. And bellboys see
her body is the envelope, licked.
Way up the Golden Triangle, Mekong
villagers fry snakes in crispy wind
unleashed by sweet soft green wood, blackening
ground for fast-food crops, for cash, and killing
all but insects. A wise man, though, can burn
paper with current coursing through his skin.
Maybe in Brazil, lifting groins of earth
for gold, the peons kiss their luck. But men
with guns for whips don’t suck the barrels dry.
They know who’s boss. Whose back breaks the ticking
of the owner’s clock. Whose woozy wife knocks
back gin, and holds it like a worm in beak
for her little nestling’s supper. Splendid
excavations for such precious metals sing.
Say you’re me. Overwrought. In Chicago.
And you’re splitting matter with a loved one,
slamming doors on teeth and pulling hair
of past disputes. You think: the vicious kiss
of desire, acquisition. Leasing space
in your heart, abandoning the building.