Only a few people and three alley cats remember when the house was gray, not yellow. A pair of empty swing sets at the schoolyard rock themselves to sleep for a late-afternoon nap. A blue dog used to trot on top of little ginkgo fans confettied on the sidewalk like he showed up too late to a parade. Farther down
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Upon Hearing the News You Buried Our Dog
I have faith in the single glossy capsule of a butterfly egg.
I have faith in the way a wasp nest is never quiet
and never wants to be. I have faith that the pile of forty
painted turtles balanced on top of each other will not fall
as the whole messy mass makes a scrabble-run
for the creek and away from a fox’s muddy paws.
I have been thinking of you on these moonless nights—
nights so full of blue fur and needle-whiskers, I don’t dare
linger outside for long. I wonder if scientists could classify
us a binary star—something like Albireo, four-hundred
light years away. I love that this star is actually two—
one blue, one gold, circling each other, never touching—
a single star soldered and edged in two colors if you spy it
on a clear night in July. And if this evening, wherever you are,
brings you face to face with a raccoon or possum—
be careful of the teeth and all that wet bite.
During the darkest part of the night, teeth grow longer
in their mouths. And if the oleander spins you still
another way—take a turn and follow it. It will help you avoid
the spun-light sky, what singularity we might’ve become.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of four poetry collections: Oceanic (Copper Canyon Press, 2018), Lucky Fish (Tupelo Press, 2011), winner of the 2011 Eric Hoffer Grand Prize; At the Drive-In Volcano (Tupelo Press, 2007), winner of the Balcones Poetry Prize; and Miracle Fruit (Tupelo Press, 2003), winner of the Global Filipino Award and the Tupelo Press Prize.