we wrote "paradise"
on each others backs. it was
a game we liked to play
before we walked out
into the millipede street.
in the eigth year of eating bugs
we craved citrus & leather.
you were planning all kinds of escapes.
i tried to keep you long as i could.
carry you to the crying square where
a great grandfather said,
"there used to be cruise ships
that could come & take you away."
we filled coffins with wheels
& told the neighbor children to get inside.
we called them "cruise ships."
spent a whole night searching
for a flowering weed
to stick inside as well.
found nothing but reeds & prickle grass.
better than nothing. better than
nothing. i used a stem
to brush your shoulder.
you said, "i think a cruise ship would be
more like a plastic bag than a coffin."
down by the river cows were
laying on their sides. an adaptation
to survive the sun. i fed them
handfuls of the sweet dirt.
the kind you could only find
beneath the tree covered in
tin cans. ghosts did that years ago
or so the legend says. the cows loved
the dirt. i said, "i will bring you more."
they were sick of the stinging grass.
everything tasted sharp since
the clouds started rattling.
a kind of permiating static.
sometimes i would think, "why us?"
visited the grandfather all alone
& asked him, "is this anything
like a cruise ship?"
he said, "oh i never saw one.
it was a story my grandfather told me."
i pictured a field of nothing but
plastic bags full of sugar
& then i asked him,
"what do you think a cruise ship
used to look like?"