Before bed, my smallyets ask if I’ll meet them
at the signpost we create in sleep, & when
they wake, they’ll ask do I remember.
I take us to the cliffing place, dip our wasp-
stung faces toward the wind. It licks us till we brine.
We dream the world won’t end.
Not till the glob we’ve wadded in our pockets
is stuck safe behind our ears. Till that gumball
machine, infection-pink, has swallowed
more than it could ever spit out.
Wake up, my smallyets call to the husky dawn.
An orangesicle moon thickens behind
clouds downriver, toward Gulf’s
hungry maw. Before the tidy plots
for yards & brick on brick for keeping in
tamed creatures & making us wilds
climb, there was a teeming desert called
Stubbornheart, called Nevercede.
Scrub oak yawned its coyote breath, tumble-
weed married strum of cedar, danced
cane cholla down the aisle, spit fire-
ants into prickly pear & spindled jaw,
& everywhere, the search for joy like thirst
like sucking sand for water, like sugar spun
between the teeth. What comes next, Mama?
When the crinkled bags of Hot Funyuns
whittle in their rattling cans & we all snake away?
What then? They lick their chile-red
paws. They wait. I pool my stock, bouillon
in the ruddy broth, the mothered pot.
The next shuttering. The clocks unspool, clicks dis-
engage, & even the safe cakes disintegrate
from the last jars. We shake
the beakers at our throats & release the bees
from our eyelids. We slip into feral skins, mothered
pelts, & claw back to the blackest scales I’ve bartered
every moment for: Not the planks enclosing us
from heat, rain, predator, though our
hunger has meant these comforters, these iceboxes.
But when the cut-meat matter in our bellies
settles & the tax-collecting god has come
to make good on its promises
to slink the fleece from off our necks, the feathers
from our primal backs, then, my smallyets, then
at the very end, the very least, this:
Once in a great while a particle opens
its one Risk Eye.
And from that aperture, every slurried sunrise.
Creatures, your world-wet noses.
Snuff this world from its strangeness as you chase
what we’ve unearthed. Let it carry us home.