by Cathryn Hankla

The possibility of saying something becomes more difficult.
The urgency
Of saying nothing rings the ears. Moving
Is definitely an option, while the tendency to back-pedal
Must be considered of necessity.
Whose child used to be Invention. Now bears
Roam our backyards.
In our barbecue pits we sift no ashes, no sooty remnants
Of Christian Inspiration.
Designer coals flavor the gas,
Smoky and delicious. Some prefer surreal yet unremarkable
Buffalo. None speak of ostrich.
It was supposed
To be my last questioning moment, my final
Nod up
The wrong family tree. Some call it Natural Extinction.
If you can whiz
On the tender tiger lily shoots the deer won’t eat them.
My father called it hocus-pocus.
Before you could say Jack Rabbit, a hole opened beneath us,
Beneath our heart of pine
Floor, just polished. A rectangle devoid of… a sucking Grand
Canyon of a…
A sink-hole, a sieve. Much like a giant colander not catching
The spaghetti. You bet.
The sound effects alone (!) were nothing if not
So, okay, I admit it, you were kind of dressed wrong
For the occasion,
Tux with grandfather’s insignia cufflinks. So what if nobody
Asked me.
Seven ants and counting. The ninth took the high road,
Gingerly exploring
The kitchen ceiling as you found the newspaper
And started rolling.

CATHRYN HANKLA’s the author of eleven books of poetry and fiction, including Last Exposures: a sequence of poems and Fortune Teller Miracle Fish: stories. She is Professor of English & Susan Gager Jackson Professor of Creative Writing at Hollins University.