I often confuse the dead horses
for trees. I say things like termites
care about the weather, or dark stars
will always find their way to empty
rooms. Anyway, the dead horses are real,
and the trees are real. Tonight a herd
of cattle is headed back toward the town
and now the river is real. The Mesopotamia
is real and the people in the town are real.
And when I saw pictures of the bighorn
sheep, I wanted them to be real so I searched
for the hands that drew them. And anyway,
the narwhal fighting off another narwhal
in order to catch its own breath is real,
and sometimes when I am in Vermont,
I go into the woods to hide from the holiness
of conclusion, and sometimes it is so real
I don’t want to come out. Anyway, listen to me
nature is real. And when seal pups kiss, it is real
just like the time we got a hotel room halfway
in between where you sleep and where I sleep
just to kiss. That was real. And yes, I often confuse
kissing with love, but when we kissed, it was real,
the same way love when it is love is real. And
to describe the language of love is to describe
the language of bees and that is to be real
and to buy something in order to remember
the describing and the kissing and the bees
is to be real. And anyway, on my way home,
I paid seventeen dollars for a piece of petrified
wood somewhere in between the kissing
and the describing and Holbrook, Arizona
and it felt so real that I called my mom just to talk
about the levels of brightness when two fighting
narwhals kiss. And anyway, I, too, want to be real.
Like spring, like swamps and like seaweed, I want
to see a whale from a beach town in California
or Rhode Island and to know that it’s real.
Because when you touched me for the first time
I knew my body was real. The Mesopotamia
was there and the Tigris and the Euphrates
and for hours the bees crawled into the craters
of me as if my body had never been clawed into.
And because when I sent you the poem about
the dying whale, you wrote back, why couldn’t you
have the whale getting saved by a narwhal or something?
Anyway, that was the saddest part.