Today's poem is by Dean Young

Today They Will Show Me the Homunculus

I knew it was on the other side of the door
gurgling like a leak, still mushy
and wrinkled and pupating, pumping
lymph into its wings.
They'd given me one of its blankies
to try to get me used to it
but I didn't want to be superceded and destroyed.
I didn't want to use such grandiose words,
I knew I had a small place in the leaf litter
processing leaf litter
but I didn't want its spit on my idols.
Whenever they lectured me about trying to try
my quills would stand up
so they'd point to the chain
attached to the wash line outside,
churned up mud beneath,
an empty bleach jug to play with.
Had they forgotten how crazy with happiness
they were when I nose-bounced the orange ball,
when I brought home papers stickered with stars,
how I got promoted at the pyramid?
Since the arrival of the homunculus
they couldn't sleep, they'd neglect to light
the incense in the shrine, he hadn't
mounted her for weeks, they'd forgotten
my birthday, their eight eyes grown
cloudy, their bridal webs weighed down
with dust. Soon I too will be weighed down
with dust in an ordinary way, at a chair
that's comfortable but too low,
even the napkin folded under the table leg
not stopping the wobbling.
Or trotting by the paralyzed fireman's house
with the pinwheels in the kale garden
or the house of the disgraced politician
with the blinds never closed
or the graveyard where the children play tag
and my rudimentary heart will give out
and I know the homunculus will be there,
adjusting the oxygen mask then deciding
to turn off the machines, pressing my paws
and skull into the tar-pit for preservation,
swearing to remember, swearing
there will never be another like me, making sure.

Copyright © 2007 Dean Young All rights reserved
from Primitive Mentor
University of Pittsburgh Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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