Here are the reverse engineers
to reduce the irreducible,
drive a chisel into the mortar,
unbuild the house to build a wall.
Those who huddle under statues
are dispersed, and in towers
elevators full of women only rise
so far before they fall.
The hand we used to wipe
before we shook, we now wipe
afterwards, or keep in pockets.
We used to party at year’s end,
set off rockets kept back
from November; now we
sleep our way to midnight,
houses creaking full of dark.
We cried at things; shattered
cities, babies on the foreshore,
but now the tears roll up
our cheeks, back into eyes,
tired of accommodations
and even the wind blows
the other way. It doesn’t matter,
but we remember when it did.
The language is regressing
into gesture, nuance, silence.
When we speak, it’s of repeal,
rethink, reverse. We gather
at the well, but every bucket
is more brackish than the last,
and soon we’ll have to mix
the hydrogen and oxygen ourselves.
The news blackout holds, but there’s
a looping nature documentary;
a curious fish steps backward
off the beach and back into the sea,
feet turning to fins, to waving stumps,
scales flaking away, flesh dissolving
into bacteria, the idea of bacteria,
then back to a time before ideas.