The earth is flat. I know this for a fact.
I’ve seen swans disappear over the blue horizon
in a quick-time blink, like ducks going over Niagara.
I’ve seen sharks that breach the open sky
snapping at gulls in flight, then tumble off screen
with feathers in their jaws.
The world is flat, the world is flat.
Like too much Prozac flat. Like not enough Prozac flat. Like a holy grail that can never be found flat.
Like earthenware brown.
You claim the earth is round. Perhaps it was, once, long ago. And, true, when you are near me –
when the kitchen becomes evil,
and the world opens its legs like she did for you,
then I cannot say the earth is flat.
Then the earth becomes a sieve, a colander of salad greens I drip through like plasma. You mop me off the floor, rinse me off in the sink, watch me circle the drain, time and time again. And think that’s love.
But you’re wrong: I was peeling onions,
that’s why I cried – not for you, but for potato peels and psychopaths who eat their young.
I am not you. I see things as truth,
believe in nothing but flat earth and pancakes
that never bubble or rise. And why not? less flour? less egg? That awful hen calls me every morning at breakfast time as I scramble for momentum,
to remind me you are gone.
Grief overtakes the spooning of soil onto my plate.
Because I know the earth is flat.
I’ve seen it. I’ve foraged for greens in the sea,
seen white-tailed deer running across
the ocean floor, galloping away from me,
as you did. And elephant dung.
Masses of it washing up on shore.
They’re down there too – giant pachyderms
holding their ground at the horizon line,
searching out conch shells and sea cucumbers,
their massive trunks swaying with the current,
slow dancing in kelp forests, near where the deep waters spill over into darkness and empty sky,
leaving nothing but a trail of murky italics.
Words with no meaning. I hate you.
And my children cry blood tears for me,
watch me in the dwindling distance
swallowing swans, choking on the pin-sharp beaks of their young, watch as I teeter
on the knife-edge of the world,
hanging onto the last outcropping branch,
listing toward a nothingness that can’t be countered. That simply is. That is a fact.
Like flat earth. Like scorched earth.
My life in four words: Burned. to. the. ground.
Will I rise from the ashes or stay here clinging,
legs dangling, praying for the swans in my belly –
hoping they, at least, will survive my fall.
Or that the elephants will wash me clean
in sea spray, tusk my shirt, pull me back up.
To reality. Or hope. Something tangible and pure.
Say, “Here’s the deal: you vomit back up our goslings, and give us fresh-cut bales of hay, and we’ll show you the way back.”
Okay, I say, okay.
And they say this:
“If you can just remember that
the earth is round you will survive the fall.
So let go. Let go.”
Okay, I say, okay.