I’ve been experimenting with which additives
make the black crater inside myself
shrink or grow. The recipes amaze.
Loneliness fills it with what I imagine
potash looks like, a particularly tender person
hollows the sides like a November pumpkin.
I’m like a porch dog on the top step
arrowed toward the world. Occasionally
I slump down and make a half-hearted nest
in the grass. Mostly my interiors are clearcuts
on some northwestern island southern people
think is perpetually covered in snow and
eastern people think is evidence
of our weakness. We’re just a minority here,
amongst the brightening alder stems
and the occasionally uncut fir standing
like a starved sheriff in the field. My west
is a peculiar mix of fermented berries
and machinery parts covered in moss
that makes the cogs shine like onyx,
which I have always wanted to put
in a poem cage, and adorn like a Christmas
palm. I know I will never be good.
My worry machine is not the shape
of a country in the Americas. It does not purr
as the machete’s blade rises. It’s a soft
multiple feeling like being alone
on a lakeside walkway in the midst
of 100 families, then returning weeks later
on someone’s arm and not even recognizing
the place. A dog finds the entrance
to the crater, enters as through a
rabbit tunnel, her tail faintly swaying.
The invincibility of appearances
is where failure becomes universal,
something even you are doing. It’s where
the poem cage’s front viewing window
opens to the public and everyone
can see the prey I eat wasn’t caught by me.