Think about bones as tinder.
Eventually they’ll splinter; if you flake
them small enough you could spray
the air with powder. Powder catches,
even if it’s flour. Even if it’s talc. It took
a while to discover that here—flame
was foreign and all we had to burn
was sugar. But even sugar flares
with enough provocation. Its fuse
runs fast enough for anyone.
Benchpress the planets up, the moon
and sun to the left, and etherize
the space between. Set a breeze
in the center and stand in it,
mouth open, ears blowing like
a basset hound. In case you
were wondering, we’re all inside
you all the time encouraging
absurdity, absurd amounts of it.
Dash it on like Tabasco, enough
to flavor the eggs red.
We invented the giraffe—you
only took the credit.
Smile. We’ll pitch lawn darts
at the corners until you remember
to stop. Demonology seems
We’re just like you. We’ll
perform the quick-summoned wind,
the perfect pitch without a
jaw harp. Or we won’t. We
are still not sure it matters.
Clarity, for the moment
it comes, always comes from us, the copse
of us, round and white like birch slices
and rattling around like cardboard
coins in a tiny cotton purse.
You could spin us on your table. You
could spin us through a syringe,
an inoculation, a suspension.
If anything at all, you are the thing
we’ve donned; our turtleneck,
our wool coat, our overly warm
down jacket. You’re only suitable
in January, and only sometimes then.
So pray for the snow to stick.
Lauren Leslie spent her adolescence on a microfarm in the Alaskan woods. She lives in Montana, where she now teaches, writes, and visits parts west. She earned her MFA from The University of Montana in 2009.