is only something on which to hang your long overcoat; the slender snake asleep in the grass; the umbrella by the door; the black swan guarding the pond. This ? has trouble in mind: do not ask why the wind broods, why the light is so unclean. It is summer, the rhetoric of the field, its yellow grasses, something unanswerable. The dead armadillo by the roadside, indecent. Who cares now to recall that frost once encrusted the field? The question mark—cousin to the 2, half of a heart—already has begun its underhanded inquiry.
From Complaint in the Garden (Zoo Press, 2004). Copyright © 2004 by Randall Mann. Appears with permission of the author.