Goodnight Moon

After Alan Weisman

 
Praise Darwin’s finches, doggedly reproducing
                      until nothing is wasted. 
           Grub-eater, cactus-eater, insect-eater.
                      The cashier asks, paper or plastic?

I peer into my cart, envisioning oceans—
                      gyres of hot air, whirling 
           water sucking up bottle caps, cups, 
                      sandwich wrap.

Is this where it all winds up? 
                      Like the yellow balloon 
           my son grasps, promptly lets go 
                      in the parking lot, flying

over a sea of trucks and cars, over our green
                      city, where we 
           wheel plastics to the curb, our discards 
                      shipped on barges

to China, tossed into soupy rivers 
                      that flow into town.  
           Balloon down, Jackson demands 
                      the next day, not knowing

things can disappear. He wants them all back:  
                      his lost copy of Goodnight Moon, the melting 
           snow cone I chucked into trees after the fair.  
                      Now this balloon. 
   
How many tides until its resin 
                      washes up on the Beagle’s 
           Plymouth Harbor? Or gets trapped 
                      inside transparent bodies

of Galapagos jellyfish, the colorful polymers, 
                      mistakes, fish eggs?  
           Balloon down, Jackson reminds me 
                      a week later, standing in our

front yard, looking up at the clouds.

 

 

 

Ravenwood Street

 
Consider how we’re made of carbon, those atoms, their incomplete 
            shells always pulling us toward something—

our legs intertwined, your hands, mine. How love’s molecular 
            architecture builds upon itself, proteins, thousands of atoms apiece: 

This house, these pine trees. Dandelions spring and parsley needs 
            mincing. Compost oxidizes behind a swing, the ropes you looped

over a branch. Our son pumps his legs, heaven-bound.  He’ll be 
            in his dreams when you come home. We are mostly empty

space, each electron in its vast orbit. Never enough time in the day.  
            Socks hang on the line, water evaporates. I’m waiting

for you, tired from another day’s scenery under microscopes 
            and centrifuges (the world I cannot see). The sky darkens,

but look here: this leaf, I cup its small green veins in my hand.

 

 

 

The Basil Erupts in Flower

 
The basil erupts in flower, the afternoon 
passes uninterrupted 
while your brother runs swing 
to sandbox to fence. I feel your persistent 
kicking and wince. 

No longer a thought nestled inside me, 
you’re all heft and demanding.
Now I want the names of these branching 
backyard trees.
When your brother was conceived,

all of me was infatuated
with one growing thing.
For eight months, you and I
have shared space, yet when I think 
of you, it’s only

to catch my breath or prepare 
something more to eat. Abundance?  
It used to scare me. Red clover, cabbage
white butterfly, gill-over-the-ground.
Silver maple, spruce.

 

 

 

Sara Talpos’s poems have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Poet Lore, ShenandoahThe American Poetry Journal, and Rivendell, among others.  She teaches composition courses at the University of Michigan.

Header photo by Eirena, courtesy Pixabay.

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