June 2011

Islands

I.

It’s always been an island.
Surrounded by sharks,
topped with the hard lid

of a volcano. Sometimes
I think about sacrificing to it.
feeling the body of my victim

twitch in fear. Other times
I consider living here
permanently, building a hut

out of leaves and sticks,
expecting at any moment
for a plane to crash on shore,

its pilot amazed to see anyone
alive. I shall most likely fly
over it in my dreams, a witness

to how small it is, a drop
I can drink from the heavy
glass of the ocean. I choose

this place for my fantasies,
where I’ve had built a mansion
with vaults of gold and seven

tennis courts in a row.
Or I imagine monsters
parading through the water

to the palm trees shivering
in the wind. They wink at me
as they break everything apart,

my fountains cracking open
to blast my face, the roof torn
off in the turmoil, so the creatures

can see all the people scurrying,
fading into holograms
that their claws pass through.

II.

We saw the island form, slowly
accumulating mass, bubbling up
from superheated sources. Soon

birds gathered on its platform,
resting there after sea flights.
A seed in a dropping grew

into a palm tree, and a boat
sank nearby, the only survivors
chimps who snapped open cages.

We waited until it realized
its mature form, then we placed
ourselves on its beach. Wearing

a hat and sun-beaten clothes,
we took up the role of stranded
castaways. We spelled HELP!

in the dirt and with sea shells.
None of us believes a rescue
vessel would come, or monkeys

would stop trying to steal food,
fight for dominance. What
we wished for was an experience

the cities could not provide.
We wanted to feel our bones
poking out of our skin, our faces

become drawn and exhausted.
Only then could we discover what
it was like to be human beings

instead of brains attached to screens,
followers of light who could
almost forget there was darkness.