Ten thousand oranges on ten hundred trees,
a black mamba can take down
6 oxen before it runs out of venom. The boy laughs;
oxen, oxen, actually, one can’t approximate
the inane things he says, half based on puns, half
on half-assed associations. All the Cajuns come from Acadia, think of Acadian
with an accent, Canadian,
a drawl of a thing. The boy
sticks his fingers out as he walks, extends two and
thumbs the others; he is counting something,
counting as he walks.
The smell of a black walnut fetus,
the smell of something fruiting in the leaf rot,
the smell of a man she has not seen in a month
emerging from her deodorant-depleted armpits
blooming like a weed of Jericho. At the Overlook
there is a deer
standing as if in headlights,
only there is nothing, just
clear field and sun and the boy and the girl
and other incidental things. Ben Franklin
dumped his fiancé because her parents wouldn’t pay his debts, then he blamed her for the STDs he got when he slept with prostitutes after. Everything has always been the same.
Everyone has always done some grabbing: special
fresh memes of dissatisfied customers
opening interdimensional wormholes
that swarm with minions packing AK47s that
riddle the body of the boy and the body of the girl
with positive affirmations and political truisms.
Seize the means of production.
Kill your landlord.
Workers of the world,
divide into tiny factions and argue over minor shit while capitalism devours the planet.
The boy prefers
pesto night to ham sliders night; he walks too close,
then runs very far. He follows her
into the house, sits next to her, stares
at his phone and sometimes
flicks at the side of his nose as if it itched
but he is probably trying to pick it
without her noticing.
Today was Fidel Castro’s birthday celebration,
or maybe not; children in Cuba are celebrating.
Elizabeth Holmes is finally being charged
with fraud, but can you imagine
being only 23 and Henry Kissinger comes up to you at a party and says,
I’m going to find you a boyfriend?
Sometimes one is just too close to someone,
without trying; they couldn’t maintain
a comfortable distance
with or without a glass of wine. Nothing would do for it— they just both understood how it was
with the world, how it was to watch it, ever
unfolding, always on the edge of making
sense. What was it he had said about
oxen? She remembers
she had laughed.