for John Knoepfle
Relax. There is an author seeking
to discover everything about you
except your name – a poem built on spec
for you. She will not let it colonize
the works of Matthew Arnold. It won’t steal
Countee Cullen’s culture. She’ll let no hijacked
vessels swoop in from the sky to erase it,
ash and rubble.
Absent though she is,
the cosmos might once more be a clockwork
or a little world made cunningly.
Which doesn’t make it safe. People will be sick
and die. A troubled woman on a talk show
realize the con man she’s confronting
is DNA her dad.
Lassie saves Laika
but drowns in the escape. Snow and rain –
everything thereafter. Arcs, animals,
covenants and still a flood. Broken bowls.
Broken lives. Mended, filled with apples
Pomegranates, Paris. Cupfuls of infinity.
Black and white and always her, you,
and something heart shaped wriggling in between.