Shirley Temple Drinks
My life is a bowl of cherries
atop a farmer’s family tablecloth, at an orchard in Michigan,
first grown in Washington,
packed in plastic, foam, foil, and wood,
gasoline, spark plug combustion engine exhaust pipe
emitting carbon monoxide vapor and carcinogen smoke.
Mmm. Pure Michigan.
Delicious. All natural. Fresh. Septic refuse.
Certified organic without mentioning how
I am a petroleum product:
the pipe, the pipeline
the cancer hole in lung, in ozone, in your family’s
empty armchair built by your forefathers’ hands.
The pacific coast, the great lake shore,
the wild rushing pollutant impurity,
bacterial microbe, protozoa,
faucet piping to households,
to farmyards, like this one, in Michigan.
I am the bowl and its cherries,
the freckled red-headed little girl,
her checkered dress―I am in her hands―
Shirley Temple drinking a “Shirley Temple.” All smiles
lips stained pink cherry mustache unaware,
her early onset diabetes, the insulin syringe.
I am delicious,
our unsated appetite for everything out of season,
for everything right now,
never asking at whose expense.
I dream of Earth shining my shoes
serving me dinner, taking my crap.
The Earth—holding me, carrying my weight,
turning the lights off, lulling me to sleep.
And I dream of it all continuing.
It is a fairy tale, my dream
that it would continue.
For she dreams of me
giving to her daily, causing things to grow,
being her gardener,
washing her feet, tending her rows,
combing her hair, rather than ripping it
all out of her scalp.
It is a comedy, her dream,
that I would treat her
mindless metal syringe prick
forced donation of plasma.
Vampire. Mosquito. Tick.
with unsacred burial blemishes.
we her dis-ease.
She will only permit this so long.
Earth and her inhabitants will have me,
my body returned to her skin,
absorbed into her pores.
An insult of a gift,
to only by dying give back.
To her I am like a goldfish cracker.
It would take multitudes of me
to satisfy her appetite
for not just matter, but means.
Not just atoms and molecules,
but the spirit of this enduring fruit thief.
I saw her once,
in a place where her mouth wasn’t paved shut,
and asked, “Earth,
what are you hungry for?”
“But if I kill you,
who will ride
the saddled waves of emotion?
Who’ll crawl under my belly
to touch me in the deep?
Who’ll ask the question, exactly
as big as it is?”