The Prime Mover

Between the pit of man’s fears—

dog-chain algorithms, the party mushrooms stolen

and the summit of his knowledge—

cryodesiccation, flush toilets in space

my son trips over his ninja costume.


He may accomplish something so historical—

teenagers loitering in radiation shelters

contemplate the long-term repercussions

of smothering him as a baby. Meanwhile,

he’s just here, twizzling flaps of elbow.


I am not terrified of sincerity

but what if he names his penis Astrophel?

“The heart is a litter of puppies

in the stomach of an alligator” he may reveal

at any time, from any pile of leaves.

Flat-Earth Antipodes with Ice Cream with a nod to Donald Hall

My aluminum-free

               deodorant is made

of charcoal. Iterative

               self-perceptions slam

into one another with

               the incongruity of

perched hummingbirds.

               On the otherwise-

deciduous slope,

               cedars consolidate

the minority vote.

               My outdoor brain

is citronella mush.

               Pools of dew inside

a string light’s bulb?

               they compare small things

               to other small things.

Location-agnostic, sunbeams fray.

               Things are bad now, but hives

of blackblue wasps are learning

               to eat these metal parasols

and build perfect houses, indestructible;

               their fluid nerve-stems resolute,

sped on flickering and silent wings—

               they’ll keep enough of us alive

to raise pavilions just for rafters,

               joist elbows of pine where conic

               metropoles form.


In Montana, Polson girls ride horses to the ice cream shop.

Horse tails swish down Polson’s empty main street—

three girls (on gigantic horses) saddles, bridles, tack

               all of it—

               they are experts.

Nate Duke
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