This guy got lost in the snow. Then found.
Then came a sense of having lost the snow
or lost the water or some infinite thing.
He watched the ME channel, day in and
day out. He couldn't help it: An old fish
swam by some little fish, asking,
how's the water? The skeletons in one
show taught parables about greed, envy,
and lust, to prove that vices lead to loss.
This little rat got obsessed with
weight lifting and sex, for example.
She preened on, licking her tail & feet.
But that rat had already been lost, clearly,
or had already lost. From the beginning,
she had looked thirsty. Her dark eyes peered out
toward some infinite thing, some body
of water from which to drink,
across which might be a horizon.
The guy remembered his time in Alaska
when, close to death, he had longed for God
with a purity that felt close to God, how
afterward the longing ebbed, and even snow
forgot and went back to being a hassle, often
dirty. The skeleton said truth every time
the rat said beauty. In the wild, you have to
melt snow before you drink it. He had known
that much, how to separate the air from water.
You wrote a book called Scared Straight, then Nothing, and then my favorite, Sexy Math. It's not like I was in love with you from the beginning. But a lot of other people were too, people on the internet, and that kind of put me off. Plus, I had this thing for Tristan Tzara. In a Venn diagram, it would almost completely overlap. I'm sorry.
But Tzara died years ago, outside of Paris, gradually researching the snow from years past. Just his poetry, his monocle, and his real name remain.
In Sexy Math, you showed why I can't get any closer: every time I get half-way there, I think "I'm half-way there!" I have a little water, fix my lipstick, and start out again. I get half-way there. This happens over and over. Usually, at some point I get hungry, or need a nap.
I've loved you this whole time, but I can't get there by half. And now I hear you're now living in the extreme ultraviolet. Where only a moth or a baby could see you.
It was a busy time, bees protecting their queen and building Spring nests, barreling out wax to cover up their kills, that kind of thing. I was totally buried.
I began to blame my genetic code. It made sense: I was a byproduct of a chemical intelligence and its desire to perfect itself. I only seemed to hold the ticket and only seemed to keep losing it in one coat pocket or another. I read handbooks hoping they'd cover me with their hands or massage my loneliness with their multiple embodied answers.
An erotics of knowledge shouldn't be so rushed or desperate, but how could I play it cool, when I had only just surfaced from the thundering hive.
Heather Green lives in Boston. Her work has recently appeared in Denver Quarterly and Tarpaulin Sky, and her chapbook, The Match Array, is available from Dancing Girl Press.