DES MOINES: The Knowledge of Corn

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DES MOINES: The Knowledge of Corn

Freed from time, 
there is no more haunting, 
just the ordinary opportunities 
in an ample bosom and 
in that gravity-defiant 
compass pointing 
toward eternal 
pleasure and broken-hearted pain, 
though the strawberry ghosts remain 
imprinted on your tongue. 

DES MOINES: The Knowledge of Corn

Wherever you are 
at the center of the universe, 
send us a postcard describing 
the condition of your feet, 
the temperature outside, 
and how did you sleep. 
From these messages 
we will gather, 
like a picker passing through 
rows of corn, 
all our food for thought, 
the silos crowded with dust, 
rats with oxygen tanks 
strapped to their backs, 
as masked as soldiers 
in the trenches waiting 
for a wisp of gas, 
a yellow cloud of poison 
rolling in. 

We sweep together 
the pieces of our knowledge, 
imagining shards of clay 
as complete pots, 
the still standing walls 
of old temples 
as containing a home 
for the supernatural, 
whatever it is about 
existence that we cannot see. 
Lifting the same dust 
with the shuffling of our feet 
which brought coughing 
to old throats, 
drinking drop by drop 
the same water 
that touched lips 
which long ago gave way 
to naked bones, 
we dress ourselves 
in costumes 
suitable for the place 
where we have landed. 

What are the facts? 
In every ordinary and 
extraordinary existence, 
there are the same conditions. 
Could anything less than human 
tell us apart? 
Every heart beats 
in rhythm with the sun, 
red fire pulsing 
in a mostly frozen sky. 
The earth also 
borrows light 
to feed us, 
melting enough ice, 
keeping cool enough 
of what could be 
geysers surging from 
broken rocks, 
scorching every square inch 
as certainly as fire 
turning this planet 
into a funeral of 
unbroken nothingness. 
Instead, smell the perfume of flowers. 
Hear the bees bringing the essence of honey 
back to their golden hives. 
See the birds floating and darting 
through the perfect skies. 
Our desires quenched 
no matter how many stones 
we lay on other stones, 
until we have built a monument 
as temporary as a thought 
about whatever we call Almighty, 
whatever gives us reason to believe.