concept pest control


skull valley, utah, 1968

on the ranch sheep hear sonic booms
daily, jet aircraft incoming and today
unable to stop the flow of nerve gas

into the wind, then rain, then snow
the mechanism of this agent already
well understood, now underway in skull valley

mortal observers, sentimental
death-adorners-to-be, silent in the aftermath
and waiting for the science to happen,

or rather to eventually report that the symptoms
observed are similar to those produced by the poison
already known to be in them, but a different kind of known

droopy heads and twisted spines
seen kicking sporadically trying to stand
seen staring a thousand yards, heaving chests,

but a different kind of seen, an open-dosing
jet flap and the footage concealed, this testbed
motion picture fails to attract an audience

had we planned for the uncertainty of
dispersal, had we known a drop of the liquid
form on a hand brought death in thirty seconds

*

ode to our weapon of area denial, isolating
your locale, killing you, ode to the official inquiry,
had we known how many within a cubic mile

the amount of gas in a fruit jar would kill
(we knew every living thing,
depending on the wind)

*

on the ranch we are wearing rubber
protective suits to conduct a mass autopsy,
though not all the sheep are dead yet



"Almost" and Two Poems

the whale doesn’t move // the sea fills its stomach // with things that cannot sing


Sand & Silt

We all have a story like this, / innocent in its setting, nefarious / in how it stays / spurred into our bones as we grow.