POEM FOR THE UNCERTAIN SEASON
It is unbearably hot and it is not even my birth month yet.
June half-open, already dripping, in the foreground.
The underside of the kitchen curtain is strewn with palmetto bugs—
they drink its whitenesses, that curtain, that milken sheet.
Consider the architecture of the skin and the curtain:
the folds, the tangles, the sun damage. What is ours is ours.
I am not here to be consumed.
The house is the dream inverted. It is not a cave,
but has the same aura of myth. It is my job to usher
the insects out of the garage and carry the birds’ nests
to the curb. All the little blue eggs may go rolling out
but that is none of my business because I cannot flit around
them and care for them properly. This may be an issue of nature
and nurture but I can do nothing about that either. We skin
the animals and remove the plastic bags outside of the house
and take their sweet offerings inside. And inside I pour
the green liquid into the little white lid and press my cheeks
against the mirror. Inside, the couch is a place
to slope, waxen, into one another. In the kitchen
there is a half-eaten pound cake no one will finish.
I wish to core the green apples in the wire bowl.
The windows brim with insect carcasses curled all around each other.
I wonder why they draw into themselves before dying.
What lies in their formic stomachs, beneath the glossy skin?
If only everything could be cut into and its center removed
for study or consumption. If only it was easy enough to say
the name of the dead insects and know what they are hiding.
I am nosy. I want to know what the white insects
in the piano room’s windows are because they confound me.
I want to sit in the sun room for hours and study the dead insects
that have accumulated in the two years since we came here.
(And in that time— what has occurred? We have cut down
three trees and painted the fence almost-black. We have fixed
the sinks and broken a shower and a toilet. We have ground
lemon peel in the sink and affixed white curtains to the walls.
And what else can be done but continue to polish?)
Outside of the house I know the insects perch on tree branches
and the earthen lips of hills. There, they do not fear death.
What is ours is ours. What is left is for no one.