those anthologized ones could sing

a line like beaten gold and decree

the world this way or that for time


present and time to come but now

we face exile if we fail to laugh

at those who reach deep into earth


and instead must waste so much

pixelated paper for no

more than a productive cough


our hands are too weak for oars our

feet too tired to climb the hill

and report on the clean air so


we ask the wrong question now that

the mountains have lost their last green

spirits but we have no one


no priest to pronounce the signs singing

from the steaming liver—but no—let’s not

soil this by dressing up in a song long gone


one day the animals that remain may

gather to snort and stamp a sweeter

melody in air free from our cardboard