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I Know


ISSUE:  Spring 2017


the back of my hand and this neighborhood,
which is devolving even now into
a semblance of Detroit. I know not
to lead a horse to water because
that won’t end well. I know my name
and to the mirror’s mute face
I confess it like a poorly planned crime.
I don’t pretend to understand
this apocalypse of honeybees
vanishing from the planet
but I know where to shop for essential oils.
I know what time it is. I know
where to go when the moon
is bad. I know secret handshakes
which are appallingly useless
and have never benefited me much at all.
I know what astronauts ate
while weightless in space
and I often dream of the vacuum.
Its metallic taste. Its silence,
which is perfect. I know the score.
I know the code. I know
the muffin-man, if you believe that.
If you believe Einstein,
the gig is practically up
for us living-and-breathing types.
This is irrelevant: On
Saturn there are oceans of liquid diamond.
This, too, has no bearing
on your life, right now:
When the sky opened up and was blue,
I wanted to weep, once,
filled with song, with ecstasy, with lunch.
Once, I knew how to scry
all of the Rust Belt
with a folded-up map.
I knew the exact texture of storm clouds.
I knew what was what,
once. Listen, I know
what that sound means to the air.
You don’t need to tell me.
You don’t.

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