Today's poem is by Steven Cramer

      with a debt to William Meredith

We pray they'll bury us, naturally.
Less seen of their insides the better.

But once they start to speak, a gut-
punch to their questions is a cinch:

"Where was I before I was?"
"Get off that table; it's glass."

Candlepins of equilibrium!—
They spazz out like cola-guzzling

polar bears, Duracells dwindling ...
One night, when the leopard geckoes

we sketched on their backs
refuse to doze, we're left to watch

as they shrug off to bed, more mad
the lizard's no lizard than at us.

Darwin knew our feral care: Yours
smiles like a troll; mine, a basilisk.

Then comes the worst effrontery:
sprouting wet thatches or dry

humps, if they deign
to unbolt their bedroom doors

it's only to lock horns about
a paper on Jacques Cousteau—

who loved touching water, built
a breath-machine, nearly drowned

in an underwater grotto, and died
of old age, ever-ready for risk

and to be amazed.

Copyright © 2006 Steven Cramer All rights reserved
from Harvard Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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