Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2019  Vol. 18 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Finding Other Uses on Earth

The radio is telling me something I know:
they are killing horseshoe crabs and not

killing them, making more of their telson,
these spiny abs, finding other uses on Earth

for the pistils, for the fins. Their blood is the blue
of milky water, blue as the eyes of cave,

blue from a copper kiss. I smooth the skin
fan-tailing your eyes. Sometimes

I want those years back, years in which I never
knew you, years in which the sun turned

black. Cicadas rose or didn’t. You gave up,
tried again. I cut my hair like a man

kicking stones out of a field. Ohio Block
Star. Towel on the grass. You bade me

kneel. The moss was springy. I didn’t mind.
The moon in my palm, green as an accident.

But all this is purposeful: the bite in the
moth wing, valved like a birdmouth; the blood

replacing a rabbit-base; where you went
before my back, sticky and shuddering;

my child. Sometimes I do the math. I don’t
mind. Long ago I promised a parakeet

that fell against my window in the middle
of a New York City snow, held onto the sill, and before

I could get the other window
open and call to him, Come inside come

inside come, stared at me, two black eyes
blinking back frost and pain—I promised

I would watch for him my whole life.
I was serious.  

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