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“Outside, the air of apocalypse is all around as I walk beneath millions of satellites.”

 

—Jackie Wang, The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us from the Void 

“The 60 generations of historical time—We are an old race: that is, there have been a lot of us.” 

—George Oppen, daybook

we are arranged in post to love one another through the grid 

we believe we could be so lucky

we crib the meme
which cribs the world

but ours a loss of aura, though the late-night screen glows
though it casts us in sleepless blue and what to do but take the suggestion, concierge

the cooking shows with their odd ingredients, the warring wives, the golden-era gloomy credits

all refraction bounding into the sharp corners of our bedrooms 

our pupils, widened, flicker

when on the television the shipping containers filled with sneakers tumble from the deck
they spill their little imprints in the direction of the current 

when a body washes up, any decent mathematician 

                                                                                           can trace the ocean to the splash 

                                 —reel in the bob, the whitecap, the constant riffle circle pushing the mass around 

 

 

 

we poke the swollen tongue 

                                                    these failed mouths 

no magic in a shoe swept up on shore 

no message looping through the eyelets

 

motes in the sunny front half—dust, caffeine 

the lingering collective glass-frame trauma waiting to flash  

I tell the barista I’m anxious and he says, look around 

we’re all of us inside kids 

my sister watches YouTube at double speed, the chipmunk pundits recapping Rittenhouse 

when we are bored we fog up the glass and write to each other flirty, threatening notes

 

language etches, we know 

even structures speak, as there, in the canyon, The Book of Worms

those swollen tubes, those burrows flooded with sediment
we too, tubes, too open to flooding 

those microplastics we have in our blood to prove it

and the future tourists who will walk someday all over our faces—

sorry, trace fossils, their soles a perfect and unknowable polymer

 

in the rainforest we learned to look for the scarlet bellies of low plants, the green filtered out
by the canopy, the epiphytes 

they make do with what strikes the earth and bounces back

 

when Google eventually rendered the world, we spun the globe to our homes

zoomed in as far as the slider allowed, blue-gray shingles 

the trees and their crown shyness 

a gull caught twice in the camera’s blink, flight-breaking glitch

two halves now too far 

shock, a gulf

 

that we are territorial 

that we build our homes just out of view of the neighbor 

that when the ailing cottonwood drops a branch on our home—
a skylight

like having removed our black glasses to eye the umbra

we know we know a thing, an accomplishment 

there is an image and we have seen it 

tendrils which strained to reach us, blinked so easily away

this common ground

 

on its axis, the earth tilts mere smidges, but we account for this 

because of course we do 

and at night those metal bodies beam back 

scar up the sky until it curls around us like a stubborn, January leaf

Rachel Franklin Wood grew up in Laramie, Wyoming. Currently, she lives and teaches in Boulder, Colorado. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Annulet, Fence, Hayden's Ferry Review, and We Want It All: An Anthology of Trans Poetics

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