Terrorists

David Meeker

i

The wild ride’s begun, the dogs let loose at dusk, and we’ve wrapped ourselves
        in a rare lineage of ancient fur.
Cold with the black breath of the hunt and the unintelligible whispering
        of wind in the pines, the night air swirls
falling snow, drifts it into mounds at each of the horses’ legs. In the distance,
        a howling and the scurry of bones.
And like the cells of an extinct plant multiplied in labs, raging, we too close in on
        the weak, as if a strain of sickness.
How on earth did I get transported here, we wonder, the speech of childhood
        holding palm open its pure hand. I reach
into the company of strangers, hear a fire ignite the skin. And a landscape
        untravelled, like words that go missing,
begins its long, slow descent from the bliss of nakedness to the hollow shame
        of injury. Under shadows of mountains, a distance
nears beautifully lit by stars. Never to be a billboard of artificial trees, never
        to uncover a trail of frozen, emtombed explorers
whose bodies slipped carefully under ice, we say everyday is colder, less
        thought out, inherited—as if we knew
what that word meant, as if the blind were born to line up neatly on streetcorners
        to listen and negotiate with noise.
And ladders are propped up next to others against the infinite wall, rungless,
        each voice a balloon floating sleepily
over crowds. When do we halt and beg for mercy? When do we steal back
        what was rightfully ours, what gestures
at the edges of our lives, tugs almost at our coats, that says you’d have to be
        a snob not to listen to fairytales.

ii

If only I was there and could have predicted the day the angels arrived, which
        random entwining of native trees
tribes had secretly arranged, pointing their twisted arms, so they could find
        the way home. Each day is a blessing,
an oarless boat slipping into water under endless puffy clouds. You, who left
        the rope untied, who would have wept
to see the many-colored painted men unravel again from the bargained trees
        to aim their poisoned spears at you,
perhaps the strange inconclusive events of this world will throw you at long last
        into the jaws of history. For once, we’ve paid
attention. We now know those we fail to recognize for who they are or what
        we’ve done to them will harm us,
will spread over our future like a virus long thought extinct. Achilles’ heals,
        our combined wisdom, forever exposable.

iii

It should have held fast: after all, we’d applied lots of glue and
        punched holes in the lining.
We’d moved all our belongings, even our good clothes, into
        the larger room where, sleeping on floors,
we dreamed of losing our limbs in forests dense with animals.
        Voices came to us, too. Voices that chilled
our bones, as if they had returned through a narrow slot in the canyon
        no one believed could bring forth life.
It was like squeezing water through rocks. And we didn’t think once
        of raw diamonds or the many other jewels
available to us, though we also knew where they hid. We thought
        the barren salt flats stretched out before us,
beckoning to us, with their mouths. We shipped each other
        crates of cured food and portable lanterns.
Could there ever be enough rope? Each other’s bodies
        we kissed and licked, nightly, knowing
the skin was a cancer, a bottle of gasoline we stuffed with rags, a map
        whose surface longed to be punctured
until it resembled a constellation of hurt. Again, we were like actors,
        cocky and spent, who remembered
each new day life formed lists of possibilities to be unstringed
        from the ball. O, we swear we knew things,
didn’t all of us know things? Little wings to lift spirits from the merciless
        unending feast our forefathers slew
and laid dripping at our feet. And maybe, Brothers, for that, for that
        we are to blame. Maybe these days are indeed
our final ones and we, good sons and daughters that we are, should
        inherit the fresh drip of warm blood
and the dust of buildings in out throats. After all, we too had descended
        from terrible crimes of obedience.

iv

I was thinking it was like waking up to a blanket of snow, these cardboard
        nights with the beetles and frogs,
but there was literally no snow, of course, there was only this floating
        like a white smoke among the chairs,
a dream of candles lit on the large round table amid chipped glasses
        of wine and bourbon. The wind carried
a small voice in our ears like a promise of bees, a dark that twists itself
        between the visible network of limbs
hung over us. The impossibly-reached but never sought after song—a miracle—
        who in the past must have been glad
to have at least reached for it—no longer alone in their fingering toward light
        that was also like limbs: connected,
happy there are seasons of surrender and renewal cloaked in silence.
        No guessing and too much guessing:
each of us a small thing, somewhat discoverable—where we is a sudden
        untouchable darkness between stars.

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