Sandra Simonds

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LINES WRITTEN IN THE BACK OF A POLICE CAR IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

Like Hearst’s Castle, the earth’s gilded falsehoods:
___the fall of man, the apple, the rats scattering
_across history books. History—our brainchild,
our criminal. Where is the fountain of youth?
__Where are the breadcrumbs, the clues?
The policeman says, “I’d like to live in Montana
__ and around my life I’ll dig a moat and fill
__ that moat with crocodiles and fill
__the crocodiles’ mouths with human flesh.”

What kind of century is this? XY? XX?
___ So much excess enters the heart and exits
medieval cobblestone. A skeleton key,
_ the opposite of bone, of mass. All day
__in pepper spray he says, “I give. I get. I own.”

*

DISMANTLE THE CRADLE

We couldn’t find the peach tea, rattle, atlas,
plastic tyrannosaurus rex, so we moved on.
__This is what geologists call the surface,
but what about the surfeit underneath
__ the white caps of cells, daffodils, oceans, skulls?
We lost a child too young to yawn at us,
_learned the mind must be formed to be bored.

And what if there is lava?
__ And what if there’s a bundle
of neurons deep within Earth’s iron core?
___Never mind. Leave all the Beta-particles behind.

We lost houses too. And churches, synagogues,
__ favorite taco stands, and photos that must
somehow prove I loved you and you and you.

*

PLAYING HOUSE

Just you and the knots
_____up the rope throat to
the tree house into your
___room of worn-out things.
__The garbage bag leaks fermenting juice.
______ Can I bring you a cup
__of coffee, the newspaper, a noose?
__The moon is out, brighter
 _ than any idea either one of us
will have, brighter than might.
_I would take a sledgehammer to it
and pound out your name if you had one.
___O you like a trick, the electronic stars,
__ O you like the plague. O you who have written
another copy of this poem in the same world one over.
___ Dedicated to this poem.

*

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