Today's poem is by Jeffrey Skinner

Darwin's Marathon

Why should I want to return
to a time where even when I occupied that time
I wanted to go back to another time
more previous,
and so on, like my head in barbershop mirrors,
endlessly deferring to its own
earlier version. What is the use of nostaglia?

I'm not sure if the ant carrying a comrade
off the battlefield is taking him somewhere to be healed
or merely getting the dying out of the way.
I do know birds are incapable
of such care. One sees them everywhere—flying, singing, puffed up
in the rain—but the sight of a dead bird is rare. Perhaps they are composed
mostly of air, and the earth's deconstructionists

find them quick work. Maple seedlings, green dwarves
taken root in the shade of a mature canopy: they
can't compete, they won't make it.
So why this tree-nostalgia for the future?
If my wishes had such little hope I would garden
every dawn. Oh for a squad of vultures and insects
to dismantle our discarded selves!
I would pay for such recycling. Instead we are the only

animal to run trailing a single file
of all the I's we once were, so that when we plow into the wall
at the finish each runner behind slams his loose fitting frame
into us with a jolt, until we are all together again, at the end of time, and
fall heavy and complete to the pavement.

Copyright © 2005 Jeffrey Skinner All rights reserved
from Salt Water Amnesia
Ausable Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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