My favorite creation story right now
is the Babylonian one,
where Apsu and Tiamat, beautiful calm lovers,
fill themselves with that new-universe smell at everything’s beginning;
they sleep luxurious in a silken bed big as orchards,
basking as the sun rolls high into the heavens
when they choose to
maybe get up.
And soon enough, of course, they have children;
then all his many brothers. It’s at this point
Apsu and Tiamat find themselves
not so much wrapped in an ocean
of pillows and duvets,
tides of comforters, billows of throws,
showers of blankets and quilts.
and all his many brothers
are noisy little fuckers.
No sooner does Apsu drift off
than Ed and whatsisface start screaming,
no sooner does Tiamat weigh anchor on her crystal canoe
than Ed and whatsisbutt crack it to slivers with their bootstomps and shrieks.
I should note
that Apsu and Tiamat
are not irrational parents.
They are no doubt good people,
sleep-deprived good people;
and Apsu, naturally,
decides to kill every last goddamn mongrel in the lot.
That’s what the great myths are about.
Dreams about the restoration of paradise; something
we’ve all known and lost hold of
at some point.
Apsu, of course, underestimates the squawking runts, doesn’t see it coming until
Ed’s footy pajama footpad is crushing his throat into the woven flooring,
Tiamat flown in terror and fury but no match for Ed and all his many brothers and
the hooligan friends they’ve come to make,
they rip her out of the stars
to scatter like hail across the earth.
My wife and I
are expecting our second child.
We are not
the oceans and the freshwater seas,
we are not
the ancient gods.
We are good people,
yet, still, I admit,
Ode to My Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park Keychain
My fingers rub the texture of rhinoceros,
sky, ash plume, letters declaring “Orchard
Nebraska,” you remind me of wonder,
of rhinos and camels who made their homes in Nebraska, bones
disguised into chalky midwest rock; you
are a clock tick
become geology; you
are a three-hour drive
past corn and cows and soybean plants
when Sophia turned five,
first road trip for just us two.
Sophia owned fossil books, rock books, she
walked the short trail, played with the toad she found,
didn’t stay long
under the barntop covering fossils
that a man dressed in white brushed out of landscape;
she didn’t care so much
about that. She did care
about the ice cream, the
storm clouds that didn’t break, the cactus,
in Nebraska, pulling itself out of sand,
small wildflowers, the world
three hours’ drive,
the time, the change here in History
before the historical, day like a shiny paperback
shelved next to the bone-hard cover with pages the color of sun through an ash cloud.
Keychain, you’re on your second car.
She doesn’t read about rocks anymore.
She is so quiet
and scared of fourth grade, doesn’t want to go back there tomorrow.
every thing she asked for,
plastic dinosaurs from the gift shop, stop at that playground, can I
have dessert, everything,
way back in time
when I still
could make things