the wind’s cotton bolt unwraps and ribbons
off over the tree tops, late for work, new light
trailing its yolk behind.
I scatter a handful of trout pellets to the choir
and their jubilant mouths smack open to the sky.
above the yawning water, disappears one by one
into the dimension of dragonfly.
For years, an old gopher tortoise has lived here,
most of the time indoors with the blinds drawn shut.
this burrow is his pride and joy. His obsession.
More than food. More than love.
in the squat arc of his silhouette.
Its floor is always soft underfoot.
I’ve watched him from the porch.
a roiling core,
around which the earth spins.
the fluted berm spreading out to the field,
the vestibule of interstitial light,
the unseeable root cellar.
or might at any given moment.
We cannot comprehend that kind of magnanimity,
though to be fair, we do not know
what hegemonies exist within.
Perhaps they are told to leave their dirty boots
in the foyer, slide into purple guest slippers
sewn from the bruised lips of salvia and violet.
Perhaps they are made to endlessly scrub the floor
if they want to escape spring fires
and enjoy nopale jam from the larder
while the creatures above, the deer,
the bobcat, the bear, the pine
burn, burn for being large and hungry.
Perhaps there is forced blackmail involved
-- an embezzlement of the mind --
and they are down there chained to each other
the white frogs, the bobwhite,
the indigo snake (for whom
a peculiar silver shackle was fashioned)
the golden mouse, the small dirt owl,
the skink, the clucking
of the tortoise’s sharp beak.
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