from Applies to Oranges
Miscues in the greenery— can you find
the monkey, can you find the snake?
We all have found the heat mirage
boiling off the pier, the Christmas lights
tangled round the tastiest shrimp shack
in town. We've found cracked gray pictures
gummed in albums, and stripped
them slowly, fed them to a fire
of blue-then-orange flames. We've
all hid our feelings in the greenery
and when the greenery whistled,
we've set phasers to terminate, and
—no quarter asked, none given—
made sure no word escaped.
* * *
The politician wins the debate by proving
his opponent will cause a nuclear war.
The voters can't let things end that way,
and in a foreign city, white with tile,
an ad for orange juice puts you in mind
of an island rifled with spiders, the ship
that took you away. You wonder how
that would go down. The anchorman
behind the glass the only one who
can let the world know: coordinates
are programmed. God help us all. In
the boiling heat behind your eyelids'
red screens, you see me standing
at the quay, and then your eyelids darken
as the horizon lines give way.
* * *
I halve the rooster's heart again
and when the feathers fly, bronze
in September's low-lying sun, you return
to me in triplicate, big-screen beauty.
I see you striding through the down
and dust, blood spattered on your ankles,
your thin dress folding around your knees.
You've got an orange in each pocket,
and you walk by death with your head
held high, into the house and its shadow.
You've made your peace with sacrifice.
Now what you want is something to keep
you going, something that's ready to eat.