Poetry from NER 41.4 (2020)
Somewhere, years ago, I ate dirt.
Somehow I forgot this dark.
I forgot beginnings. Who recalls
the Earth’s birth? Years go on.
We become ruins, dust—oblivion.
The first brothers’ wisdom was to kill.
Soil the ground with blood. First breath
taken. Is this blood a curse? I ate it.
When it rains, I pray it will wash off.
But the sun continues to rise &
stories return & return us to dirt.
We squint at the familiar unfamiliar.
How does the animal kingdom know,
what is right & wrong? What is north
& south? Do worms know the light?
What would it be like to feed like one?
Know nothing but the drain of rain.
How was I once a boy, fighting like
birds, over who could kill the snake?
My brother did it with a small stone.
Once, after a storm, I stepped on
the sidewalk. The blood of worms
went unnoticed until I bent down
& watched nature ravage its body.
I’ll die like that one day or soon. Pass
like years, like nothing was ever there.
What am I capable of, dear brother?
All I know is we are here loving &
forgetting until one of us dies
by chance. I must risk it all then,
so I can make some small impression.
Like the first brothers who were or were
not there. Some sorry storied breath,
whispering dust to cosmic winds.