by C. Derick Varn
Although you can hardly avoid it,
it’s hard to be human. Always slipping
in and out of the perpetual intermission
between lonely longing and the scum
at the bottom of the sink. You expect
that you will not die of grief as you sob
and masturbate, but nothing’s certain.
Your memory akin to blurred pixels,
or soil sorting into ever neater strata
of forgotten debris. You’re always
claiming the highroad as it washes
away: feetstuck in drying mud
and pressing downward, inward,
where lunch dates aren’t forgotten
and men can stare at sunflowers
without miasmas of useless hours.
Sitting in the park, black birds
Pick apart a flattened sparrow,
Tuffs of feathers tower out
Of the beginnings of visible
Bone. I can’t help but
Remember. This narrative Intrusion
Does not go unnoticed. Memory
Likes verse and birds acting oracle
To other dead birds. The move
Is obvious because memory
Fades like a firefly larvae
Growing fat on fruit on
Before the crab apples fall
To the ground. I am forgetting
The point but the birds continue
Eating. I think this poem is for
A woman who lives far away. Too
Far to be a one night stand, wayward
Flesh missed mostly in letters. I read
Somewhere that poetry was the remnant
Of courtship rites. We learned to speak
First to lie, then to forget, but we learned
To rhyme to remember, and share a bed
With another woman or man of the tribe.
That is what they say, but I don’t know:
The crows glutted and call to me:
They don’t want to share, just want
Me to know. They didn’t kill the sparrow
But ate it anyway. There are mountains
In the distance of the park, sitting like
Gossips in the Mexican dessert just beyond
The city. The peaks remind me of
Driving through Colorado but mountains
Are more dried from the sun here and
Stare more blankly in their bland.
There so much that runs together:
Like mixed soil: sand, silt, and rot.
To the woman, I hope she is sitting
Somewhere thinking about birds.
Thinking about past lovers, and
And the awkwardness of words.
Many the distance will erode like
Desert abrading the mountains.