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O Earth: An Estrangement in Five Parts

Idra Novey (2019)

O Earth: An Estrangement in Five Parts



two children waken    say they’re mine

like a thief I try to pocket

my apocalypse scenes


the children want the world

and I assure them they can have it


I just have to find my sunglasses

can’t see the planet anymore without them

but someone has sat    on my only pair

the children say it was me


and why wouldn’t it be

irony is not enough       naked-eyed

I lead them out into the brightness



we reach a green

a place to mock-race      over fake grass

forget the hem of fences

till it stops us


in a stream once

I pressed on wet leaves

my foot sunk into a dead deer underneath

no way to know

till my foot was in its ribs

how the hidden would get hold of me



I find a tree    cower beneath it

consider how much of the lonely

I lived along that creek was meanness

people spitting tobacco

into library books     setting fire

to the gas-soaked nest of a bird


we drove past the forest more

than we entered it     hoping against

the dart of an animal     large at the curve

people crashed that way      a bear emerging

ravenous after the snow



I surrender    declare the sun irrelevant

pull the shades against it

let the tub run till it warms

while someone else’s child stares thirsty at a dirty cup

while the lakes    while I align

all these inanimate eyes

touch the plush arms of a stuffed cat as if

it were holy

this goat and Paddington     without which

my most beloveds do not know

how to sleep



Before the reckoning I suck in

some Twitter      more conditioned air

then descend to them     re-enter the heat

and they are there    writhing

the blind gods of the compost bin

who multiply so divinely


and who I have dreamed of

wriggling inside me     worming

their acropolis into my softer parts


as they unmake me      I awaken

my hands still cupping the sandy raisins

I came to offer       in whose particles

I dream of being redeemed

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