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Americium

Americium

My daughter spent two hours
weaving twigs and fishing line
to make a boat, which then
she sent against the current.
The crab grass captain, the crow's nest,
the aspen-leaf sails, disappeared
thirty or so yards down river
and were never heard from again.

No. Just you listen:
as the rigging gives way
to the lurch and thrust of wind,
as the wire frays and the popsicle
stick snaps, nearly killing us --
this is when discovery happens.
The mind perpetuates an image,
a perfect day, a culture, a broken thing

and the human lives it over and over,
like first sex or a ship sailing
off the edge of the world forever.
So we make a history of memory.
All these lands that pass us,
dark waves dancing like bursts
of helium from the sun, these cries --
we remember them white.

Tom Bates