Wednesday, February 16, 2022

New Forest

There’s a bluegreen, pea-sized pebble
In the sandlot behind your block.
It’s too trivial to notice,

If you’re not a kid in the dirt,
But there’s a kid thinks it’s pretty,
Takes it home, sticks it on a shelf,

And promptly forgets about it.
Today, there are several pebbles
In the lot, plus three on that shelf.

Some of the pebbles are bigger,
One as big as a tennis ball.
A dog mouths it and runs with it,

Then drops it in a gutter when
There’s a sharp whistle from the lot.
Today, there are leathery spheres

Big as beach balls, heavy as sacks
Of wet garbage, in the sewers.
One turns up in a city park.

Today, they’re blooming all over
The place, all around town, in streets,
On sidewalks, on stoops, on parked cars.

They stink. They smell like dirty socks.
Their skin’s tougher than runway rubber.
They seem to ingest where they sit.

It’s a crisis. It’s a clean up.
Parks and Recreation’s on it,
So are the sanitation crews.

Today, the city’s giving up.
The parks look like installations
Raised by some demented sculptor,

Stacks of bluegreen globes, big as trucks,
Big as buildings some of them, big
Enough to hide trees and smash walls.

They’re in the buildings. They’re breaking
The buildings, pushing people out.
Today, the plan to burn them down

Failed and actually burned down
Only what was left of the town.
Today, holes opened up in them,

And people started climbing in.
The region has been quarantined.
No one who goes in comes back out.

Today, what was a nation-state
Is a landscape of bluegreen spheres
Crammed and piled kilometers deep.

If any of its citizens
Are still alive, they live inside.
Other countries cower in fear,

And try to keep their people home,
And haul back caravans and boats.
The rumor is there’s room in there.

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