All walls are an ecology whose space could feed
a century. We believe in this theory and that love
is for making children, an instant without hands
that requires the defeat of the tiniest brown dog
stalking the neighborhoods of our youth.
There is so much that contains us. There are things
we cannot ignore. Puffins lost in whale, bodies sick
with blood that can neither nourish nor destroy
the possibility to recover, for a minute each afternoon,
the whisk-broom sound of dancing,
our vain music. We would rather marry
than become mirrors of inconsequence. We would
nuke the whale if it were right. But rescue comes
only when danger is, and rescue is the distance
between a cure and the passing of lies to no one’s
tongue. It is written, that desire is as sterile
as the worthless milk of starving mothers.
We believe that too. But what are we supposed to do
with it, that desire, when we are feeding ourselves
and the next encounter with any bit of food
is as purposeless as that milk, as that street
on which immigrant children get their names?
We exchanged names once, knowing we would prepare
the defeat of our memories for the gain of a face,
knowing what beauty becomes in the comfort
of a single noise, in the happy book and loosely tied
apron of that kindness. What we said then
is forgivable. The walls take up everything except
our faces, that beautiful space wanting nothing,
but to remain its own ecology, to remain ignored.
Don Hymans has taught at the University of Iowa, Emerson College, DePaul University, and currently teaches at Loyola University Chicago. His work has appeared in American Literary Review, The Best American Poetry 1997, Black Warrior Review, The Boston Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, and Verse, among other places.3