New Myths for the Republic of Family Life

Sarah Blackman

A prevalent myth of the Republic
is that we will rise refreshed, washed

smooth by the nervous tongue of the ocean.
That, even when we do not sleep

and instead burn all night with the tinkering
flame of burning paper, we will rise refreshed,

washed smooth by the nervous tongue of the ocean,

in love with each other, patting each other
on the cheeks in our great delight.

In the Republic, all life comes from the ocean.
Life putters around on the fringes of the ocean

somewhat at a loss. There is no schedule, yet.
There is nothing to be late for.

When will clocks be invented?, wonders life.
When will Spanish omelets or brooms, serial novels, romantic love?

In a civilization or a family no one knows what comes next.
Not the protozoa. Not the whelk.

When we rise, washed smooth, we pat each other
because we are surprised to find each other

more or less unchanged when the whole great night
has been battled through, when flames have consumed

the alphabet up to but not including the letter A.
What a surprise to discover that someone did invent the broom.

It must have happened while we were consumed
with one another. It must have happened while we slept.

Without language it is hard for us to say
exactly why we are so angry and so in love.

“A A A A A ” your father and I say to each other.
“A A A A A,” we say to you.

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