Capitals - Poem by Morgan Michaels
you have taken a train to a boat
that ferries you slowly to a third world aeroport
where palm trees struggle against hostile winds;
where you board a plane stuck with propellers that
squats at a froggy angle to the tar;
and murmuring 'vita brevis est' belt yourself in,
notice neither pilot nor stewardess;
watch semiphore the crew through a soiled window:
and after a sixteen hour flight, through rain
over boiling seas, cross yourself,
land, disembark, and by foot
trek on for days, neither eating nor drinking,
till, in a pleistocene wood, you find them-
slithering, hissing, getting in each other's way;
this is what you've come for. people said 'no'
they don't exist. or, 'yes', they did, long ago.
no time to exult, you snatch a cell-phone
from your shirt and begin to snap
what you know will make a fortune back home.
for, there they plainly are- note
the extreme gracility of the A- angles and corners despite,
its cross-bar demanding a time-wasting pencil lift,
useful once, now doomed to orthographic limbo; the
fustiness of the B- its double loops
a Darwinian marvel, serving no clear end;
the C just an impossibly large version of itself-
munching its weight in shoots and twigs per day,
shy, up to its belly in a lake of ambivalence,
a tuber of some sort slipping down its throat,
the D, a windy spinnaker from the days of sail;
they don't seem dangerous at all.
slowly you shed your fear, begin
to understand why, of dubious use, they failed to survive,
and why their habitat shrank to this far-flung shore;
the revelation strikes you like lightning;
you will show your kid the pictures someday.
'yes', you'll say, 'that's the way it was- '; he will
look, smile wisely, show tactful interest
then go back to his business, e-mailing someone in Thailand,
or googling something, capitals needless, of course.
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