Sunday, August 2, 2015

Nagasaki Crane Fly

Song from when I was one drop tall
Song of when I was swimming in tar
Of when I was doing the backstroke in
the shimmering mud
When my tongue was covered in glowing moss
When cumulonimbus blood cells swarmed
like crimson mites across the roof of my mouth,
the flesh of the sky before the blast

Song from when I was one hair old
Song of when I was choking on fur
When my esophagus was swollen with dust
My gums spray painted with rust
When the water tower on the edge of town
was furry with mosquitoes, making the block letters
printed on the side illegible

The gas chamber, the oil rig, the armored tank
The Portobello mushroom cloud
growing from the pot of bubbling stew
Torpedo bra fired from a cannon,
a one-piece swimsuit washed up on Bikini atoll
The garbled chorus, the warbled warning
that bubbled from our bloody beaks
as we perched on the wires of a harp made
of electrical lines
I refuse to lose the will to lose my way. I refuse
to chase the shadow flickering
in the last telephone booth left standing
in the neighborhood with its glass blown out.
I sing a requiem into the open mail slot,
whisper dirty limericks into a hole drilled in the side
of the noise buffering wall along the interstate.
I count the flattened gnats, each one a splattered note
on the scale in my fake book,
and I fill my throat, my lungs, even my ass
with your trumpeting song.

Song of stitches bristling up and down your milky shin
Song of the desert lighthouse, of the beachfront silo
Song of the one who died, and the one who wouldn't die
but probably should have
Song of someone who felt something
or couldn't, but wished they were able to
Song of the water babies and their foamy coffins
Song of the albino crows you kept feeding
when you couldn't even afford to feed yourself
Song of the rock that toppled from the branch
and clogged the culvert
Song of a flash of light, a smear of eyeshadow
Song of the steep stone stairs you'll never climb again
Song of how long has my goddam fly been down
Song of the roulette wheel heart, the misplaced bet
Song of my sequinned skullcap and how crooked it sits
on my lumpy, swollen head

Song of how I survived
Song of how I shooed
that enormous crooked-legged  crane fly
out the open screen door

We sucked in our breaths
then both let loose the same song
at the same time
with the same insect voice,
a song that no one could hear
above the roar.

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