Two Minus One

Gregory Sherl
for Maple

She called to say she lost it. She wasn't pregnant long enough for the leaves to go crisp, toasted almost brown. They were still gold, still burning themselves orange. I don't understand I said out loud & between the joints in my fingers. We should call the police, file a missing person's report. I'll put flyers around the block. I'll find her.. I have a flashlight, canned food that'll last for months, a backpack that straps around my waist. I have beard stubble. My eyesight has been perfect since birth, so spread open—I'll climb inside. In the nighttime, they keep the lights on at cemeteries so the dead can find their beds again. Some things stay too small ever to be buried. I've got the police on speed dial, but how do you pick out your embryo? It was there just hours ago. They put jelly below her stomach. There was an agreement that something was inside her: ghosts shaped as shipwrecks barely moving. Leaving nature we still keep it. My favorite part of the future would have been my daughter's ears studded like the buds of chrysanthemums. I couldn't pick out a linden tree in a police lineup, if the lineup went linden tree, parachute, Boy George, maple tree, orange grove—so how would I pick out my embryo in a lineup that went embryo, embryo, polar bear, embryo, winter? What did your embryo look like? Like the cover of a book no one would read. Like gleaming.

Copyright © 2012 by Gregory Sherl. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2012 by Gregory Sherl. Used with permission of the author.

Gregory Sherl

by this poet

poem

What is there left to do during a truce, but look at boys
swinging swords at the trunks of trees?
You reach into the sky & pull down a phonograph,
& we listen to the helium in the stars. Your hands
are clean air & that’s worth repeating, but the clouds
are mad. What more than