EarthedJ. P. Dancing Bear
(Poem Starting with a Line by Mary Jo Bang) The body buried in time. A fickle list of numbers. Tick, tick, tocking, no telling the tell-tale heart to stop. All corpses are wrapped in guilt, placed in their coffins, their boats, their linens and set to earth or blaze or washed down the river to join silt. I owned a morbid desire dormant in a shroud of years, to leave the bodies of instinctual love, where Fibonacci and primes go to die like elephants in their graveyards. That tusk of my father jutting out of the ground—a fat sapling of dis- appointment; my brother as wingless as the tortured fly; sister sinking into the sunken-eye ground, grand mother lost in a ravine of leaves, tangled in brambles. I am the one who leaves on the ship ablaze with sunset and its reflection. The red skirt in the night and at dawn. Delight and be gone. Someone once wiser than I said if you get a second chance to live, hit the gas, get moving, rip the rearview mirror off and toss it out—don't turn around, just get out of town. It's good to know the longitude and latitude of where bodies lie, but better not to be near enough to point. Forget the number of footsteps, better yet get bigger shoes. Lose a finger if it keeps you from the proper count. The best thing about distance is immeasurable, is timeless, the great getaway, the unsolved mystery left for archeology students to ponder the bones. They were never so simple as to be just bones.
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