by Jack Marshall
we call “searching” in the eyes
of animals – that pre-human
stare before the advent of speech,
which says it all
with the eyes, as we
must have early on -- I now watch
surfacing in the eyes of my cat, Charlie.
From deep within fur, an aftertaste
of the antediluvians we were
and will be again in old age
that sucks the limbs dry
when the subconscious cuts
out and consciousness is in short supply.
Midnight of an earlier day
in a dead of night to come.
And whose are those dash-
and-dotted bird notes, shrill
squeaking twitters that protest
the shaking from my picking lemons
from its nesting tree? Apocalypse
in lace? shredded silk? Emotion
recollected at full volume?
“If you love me,” said my mother,
“leave me,” her face flush
with sunset illuminating the roses’ last
flowering of her ragged seasons stern
as the soil they failed to animate.
With the force of a clarity returned
with a vengeance, it’s clear paradise
is not in the future, but the past, since
survived, and the relief of never being able to
return, not by a long shot.
©1999-2004 Exquisite Corpse.