"The challenge is always to find the ultimate / in the ordinary horseshit."
- James Tate from "South End"
New workshop thread & exercise up at Tallow & Glue.
Very Hot Day
I know what's going to happen
to those two plastic produce bags of crushed ice
I perched atop the garden wall:
one's floppy, droopy, flabby,
its overhanging pooch of ice-melt
already about to pull the whole bag down
into the dirt, bursting it, turning it
into a fistful of filthy gummy polyethelene;
the other's centered, poised - even
its ice-melt seems to know where to settle
so the bag stays upright and stable:
if it were a person, he'd radiate
smiling confidence and good health,
a team player wanting only to be useful,
to stand as an example of how to adjust
conflicting parts of himself for the general good.
His effortless balance and bright red twisty-tie
might seem flashy and arrogant
were he not so persistently mindful
that he shares the other bag's fate.
How could he not, since they're almost touching?
He'd have to be completely oblivious
not to witness the moment his twin
plops into the dirt.
He'd have to know he's heading there, too,
no matter how solid he feels at present -
that even now he's really broken and helpless
and destined for the recycle bin
where like an omniscient god I throw
useless used bags for crushed ice
the butcher gives me to keep my raw meat
safe while I drive home on a very hot day.
from The American Poetry Review, May/June 2005