Monday, July 13, 2015

The Water Itself Is Cold

The secret of life is escape.
Happiness is escape. Salvation
Is escape. Satori is escape.
Martyrdom is escape. Charity
Is escape. Anything but toil
And rumination can be an escape
And maybe those as well.
No prison was ever so leaky,
No furlough, no parole,
No pardon and permanent release
More amply guaranteed.
Then we see each other, fall
Into one another's arms,
Promise to remain, people
Among people, and we
Remind each other to shut
The door behind us. Begin. In

The last glacial maximum
Of the Pleistocene, when
Modern humans already
Roamed what we now name
Africa, Eurasia, Indonesia,
And Australia, just a few
Thousand years before
The oldest dated sites
In the Americas, megafauna
Of numerous now extinct
Species left bones on the tundra
Of my home continent, and
The ice over what is more recently
Called the City of Chicago
Hunched roughly a thousand
Feet thick. Massive. Enough
To crush the current high, hot,
Windy towers to one smeared
Seam of polycarbonate and steel
Ground down to a human finger
Width or two. That was no time
Ago and more time than twice
Or four times all the history
We know, some eight hundred
Or a thousand human generations
Ago. Meantime most of the megafauna,
Along with all that overhanging cliff
Of ice long gone before
We knew. The more we know, the less
We know; still less, we guess, we knew.

Please shut the door. I know
You want to go back out again,
But they're already gone and you
Will get gone too, and although
The air feels warm this afternoon,
The water itself is cold.

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