A LITTLE TOOTH
Your baby grows a tooth, then two, and four, and five, then she wants some meat directly from the bone. It’s all over: she’ll learn some words, she’ll fall in love with cretins, dolts, a sweet talker on his way to jail. And you, your wife, get old, flyblown, and rue nothing. You did, you loved, your feet are sore. It’s dusk. Your daughter’s tall.
Boil it down: feet, skin, gristle, bones, vertebrae, heart muscle, boil it down, skim, and boil again, dreams, history, add them and boil again, boil and skim in closed cauldrons, boil your horse, his hooves, the runned-over dog you loved, the girl by the pencil sharpener who looked at you, looked away, boil that for hours, render it down, take more from the top as more settles to the bottom, the heavier, the denser, throw in ache and sperm, and a bead of sweat that slid from your armpit to your waist as you sat stiff-backed before a test, turn up the fire, boil and skim, boil some more, add a fever and the virus that blinded an eye, now’s the time to add guilt and fear, throw logs on the fire, coal, gasoline, throw two goldfish in the pot (their swim bladders used for “clearing”), boil and boil, render it down and distill, concentrate that for which there is no other use at all, boil it down, down, then stir it with rosewater, that which is now one dense, fatty, scented red essence which you smear on your lips and go forth to plant as many kisses upon the world as the world can bear!BLUE WITH COLLAPSE Thomas Lux The devil’s in my neck. Everything I hear is overviolined, even the wind, even the wind. It’s like walking in nurdles up to my chest, squeaky and slow. It’s spring, the blooming branches nearly hide the many dead ones. A squirrel, digging for a nut, upends my frail tomato plant and fails to replant it, even though he has the tools. I find this kind of squirrely oblivion everywhere. I was a man filled to the top of my spine, filled to the lump on the back of my head, with hope. Then I read a few thousand history books. Little, and nothing, perturbs me now. Even the beheadings, even the giant meat hooks in the sky, more frequent each day, bother me not a tittle, not a jot.