We Dug That Tunnel with Spoons
after James Tate
the size of shovels. They looked
like silver oars in the lamplight,
which made the dirt a chocolate
ice cream. “This is so sweet,” you
said behind me, pretending too.
We rowed that way through the
darkest soil, through the worms
and the roots, the tiny gems in
the jetsam. All night the coxswain
far ahead shouting “Stroke! Stroke!”
with such confidence we were
almost sure we could catch him.
The Seven Wonders of the World
I’ve never seen any of the Seven Wonders
of the World. Not the New, or the Natural,
or the Ancient. I’ve never boated to the base
of Victoria Falls and been filled with the smoke
that thunders, a billion tons of water crashing
inside that unquenchable crack in the earth.
Never ran my open hand over the sandstone
facades of Petra as they vanish, grain by grain,
into history. Never climbed the Great Pyramid
of Giza or camped there illegally, my great-
grandfather’s name carved in the capstone.
But I’ve queued on the steps of a minor museum,
waiting for the doors to unlock. Our fifty feet
were the Bulls of Pamplona—another place
I’ve never been. And I do remember the Alamo.
Parallel parking on the Hoover Dam. I’ve
wondered up at Mt. Rushmore on a cloudy
day, found two quarters in the ashtray, a closer
view. All I really want are the Seven Wonders
of a Marriage. Find me standing in line for
the Marvels of Your Many Moods. There
we’ll lounge in the comfort of a queen-sized bed.
The Ancient Oak out back is dropping its acorns
again. Listen to them roll like marbles through
the Labyrinth of our aluminum gutters.
They land on the land under our hammock.
The Steller’s jay thinks it’s a vending machine.
Message from the Mojave, 2222
The grizzly’s back. The wolves are back. The river
lays its slender back across an ancient
riverbed. Spring thaw. Grasses shiver
in the wet wind. You were not a patient
people. More souls than all the stars that spill
upon the midnight sky, the elders say.
More stuff per man than any man can pull.
More guns than men. But then you went away.
Now the cattle kick up what remains
of what you were. We’re in no rush to find it.
Closer to the sea, your empty metal trees
still reach at what they used to reach. The stains
of lines so sure and straight. We never mind it
when they fall, but can’t help note the ease.
TIMOTHY GREEN has worked as the editor of Rattle since 2004 and is the author of American Fractal (Red Hen Press, 2009). He recently began minting poems as NFTs, which can be collected here. Visit his website for haiku and more.