by Doug Ramspeck


The acolyte sits at the kitchen table,
bathed in bright fluorescent light. He is waiting
for another explanation. Or perhaps
he is sleeping once more on the forest floor:
the blue lupine and toothwort are prodding
at his back, trying to sprout into him,
trying to become him, which they cannot,
which is another way of saying
that whatever we carry with us into this world
is still the mystery of choice, the two halves
almost joined, the fibrous skin we cannot
see beneath. Yet still the acolyte butters
his toast and drones on about veins,
blood, and bones. We keep waiting for him
to speak hypnotically once more of glory,
but instead he tells the story of the sleeping
gopher snake that awakes to find
he has become the field mouse decaying
in his own belly. The gopher snake
is inconsolable. The field mouse is inconsolable.
And both, which is the point, are mystified.


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