Companion Species (II)

Kascha Semonovitch

I thought this was a loneliness that would subside.
            I thought it was a curtain

That might divide: seeking a partition, or a drawstring, I

            pressed into the fold, pawed at velveteen.

But there was no center, no division, just a solid

            sheen of disillusionment.   Not a curtain, in fact; a veil,

Not something to get through

            but to stay—

                                    Here, I have his ring.

They say you could tell silk by the yard you could pull
            through a thumb ring, a Chinese test.   This material, well,
You could pull and pull, through
            and through, no avail.   Gossamer would

Keep coming as if the spider who spun it were weaving

            then and there, white weave with no center.
Who hung it? Who hung

            the middle of the night.   Who’d

Tear it down? We need it for

            protection.   Modesty.   Agony.   Sleep.

 

La Faute

1.

“The trouble with the world is . . .” that
We are troubled by the world

The world that troubles me is . . . . No,
The trouble with world is.

The trouble I have with world is—
Is I am the world. The world is the trouble

I am with. (As a child) I am troubled by the world,
But I am not troubling the world.

World trouble is with me. With me, I see
Over the shoulder of the world, trouble.

2.

The trouble with the life
Of mammals—chiselers, nudgers,
Hunters, managers, after-feeders—is

The inferiority of birth.
We let our young come
Into the world fully

Formed. We haven’t any shell!
That fawn moment of struggle—in the open
While the chick had picked and peeped, safe for days.

3.

“Living in a certain
            hollow of the earth we
Believe we live
Upon the surface.”

Fleeing from
Our lives we believe
            we are living—
We are squirrels

Crazed with storage
While mocking
            birds sing the
Chorus.

 

History

For Ephigenia,
history began as
just Not Now
and then—

                        it grew

longer. First time was entirely black, then, time
took on striation; blue of oceans, brown like Noah, green
in dinosaurs, umber caves. And yellow-white, Now!
History was much like the carpet.

Gridded machines entered in; Elizabethean dresses—in history,
there were many, many dresses—
candles, stone. She learned to look
on time as used, by men

and then—eventually women. The airplane winged in; around
age twelve, it had a precise place. When we noticed the stars—thirteen?—history
shuddered out like a black blanket crumpled before beneath her; Venus, Alpha Centauri
had names, far and scattered. The dinosaurs weren’t flush with the industrial revolution

but at a piecemeal distance. The red orange ripple of wars beside the green white;
a cacophony of crowns tossed like jacks shook to their proper places
on the map. When she noticed—
                                                            The Americas! had not always been there. She
drew them in. Voyages, mountains and foreign crops emerged from a fold in the wool

like a forgotten section of a sheet on a long bed—
                                                                        finally room for feet. Instead of atop,
she was wrapped. Stunned at the bulk, Ephigenia gathered the piece in her hands; under
study revealed to be—
                                                                                                         embroidery! Always
had been—the entire sheet, not wool but hand

work. Of sticky silk masticated through the jaws of invisible, industrious chairotic
insects.
           Since then, she’s been
picking at the stitching.

 

Natality

To fight off a disease without
Antibiotics, I am trying to convince my body
To defend ourself. You must defend yourself!

I look at my cells and try to make them understand:
The world is alien; not everything is permitted to grow
In this terrarium. We are a special experiment.

Cells shrug their amoebic heads, and sigh: This is not
A closed system
. The world has always been
                                                                      inside. You
Put foreignness on your tongue all the time. Can you close

Your ears? Not to mention—Why would you think
Your womb is only in your womb? We are something that
The whole world is doing.

A concert; a culture. Let it begin in your hair.
Part your lips. Wider. Inhale. Spread your fingers.
Consider—
                       whom we can host.

 

Gare du Nord

Do you know what my favorite
sexual position is? Someone standing
behind you, arms around, chin on
your head, press—waiting for a train.

The joy is escape is
immanent. Time is
huge; the clock
in the arcade hangs on a minute like a

semaphore in hand, attending response from
across the hill. The intuition is:
the instant. The present is
platform. Speech is

everywhere and useless—mettre
sa langue dans sa poche
—money, in
pockets, no time left
to buy. The experience

is not delay. We came early
to wait. We came because only
we can be late. The train, the inevitable, faces
no accounting, is no one
                                        responsible.

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