WE WOKE UP EARLY SO WE WOULD KNOW HOW TO SURVIVE | DANIELA NAOMI MOLNAR

 

1.

Through that.
Through that.
Through that door.
You walk through
that door into the dawn,
see how gasoline and plastic tipped the earth
on its axis. The sun rose
wrong. Rupture,
flare. You walk
backwards, feeling
with your hands.
Just hinges, jamb.

*

Do you ever try to fall
asleep in the bathtub?
Gravity is a bitter gift.

*

The door isn’t there now
but you try to open
anyway you’re in wrecked time
and you’re on the valley floor.
Valley filling up with water.
Valley filling up with trash.

*

Valley filled with pink plastic.
A formerly silent river sounds
out its passage, groaning pink pink
pink pink plastic.
Now we hunt by smell alone,
bumping into tilted things.

*

Grab grab hide.
We have big tides here.
Here is a valley, quick as a blink,
a shimmering pink
lying fire.

*

Owls wash rodent blood
from sated claws
in the river from which
we used to drink. We built
our sinking house by hand
with windows for the morning.

2.

We have lost the world,
kept only the battle.
Only half the spiritual beings
that lived in this valley
where the master and the slave
cudgel the living land
remain. Each one a fact.

*

Saline and cartilage.
A paucity of birds.
The muscles of the tide
contract. Crinkled
magnet skin of light
still seeking. We must place
things all around us,
sweat inside the bright blood.
Speak as if a fortress.
Speak as if a fight.

*

The law is to survive,
to behave like we’re living.
Wake up early,
walk the fence line.



3.

The animals still feel joy.
Their bodies
roil and flash.
Maybe there’s an opening.
A rip in it.
Count count kill.

*

Dig a hole
deep as your arm.
Put coins in the hole
and fill it up with wet black clay.
Imprint your hand on top.
Pray for a break in the rain.

*

Who then is forgiven.
Build a campfire in the kitchen.
Burn sugar, burn it black.
Burn metal, bend it back
into a ring. Keep
what it encircles.

*

One day they find you,
still warm, helpless
as a lab rat, counting
on your fingers all the facts
you cannot explain.


4.

Valley filled with pink plastic:
jellyfish soft
incisor hard
prayer round
river flat
at dawn, slack collateral.

*

Where are the colorful fish
What is making that sound
The fence line  : How to hide
Why to hide
Who forgot about the river
Who forgot about the tide

*

Who forgot about the endless
the dust
the cold hidden springs
tectonic plates
mycelium

*

You dream capital.
Who forgot the fleshy bulge of greed,
warm couches. Leather, strawberries.
Ice outside. Disposable pink…
The buried coins, the clay.
Windows, if only there was morning.
If only there were eyes.
Find the seam and rip it.
Let the rain inside.





5.

Who forgot symbiosis
Who forgot predator/prey
Who manufactured predator
Who codified prey
Who forgot how to love the thing
before killing it

Who forgot death’s fecundity
Who forgot the osmotic anthem of love
Who forgot the smell of soil breathing
Who forgot dawn
Who forged dawn unconvincingly,
sallow electric rot

Who convinced dawn of nothing
Who found dawn recalcitrant,
habitual, full of scars and leaking light
Who knew nothing about survival

Who couldn’t forget melanin
Who couldn’t forget money
Who imagined well the distance between soil
and cerebellum
Who kept that distance tame,
leg in a trap, screaming

Whose leg was in a trap
Whose trap was made of plastic
Who felt it and felt it and felt it
sever and tear

Who finally died there, but far
too late to save us
Whose body was eaten by ravens
Whose fur lined nuthatch nests
Eyes eaten, too
Sockets cupping mushrooms
in the spring


 

 
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Daniela Naomi Molnar is a visual artist, poet, wilderness guide, and teacher. She founded and directs the Art + Ecology program at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. She is is an MFA candidate in poetry at Warren Wilson College. She grew up in the NYC area, a daughter of immigrants, and now lives in Portland, Oregon. www.danielamolnar.com


Cover image by Zachary Schomburg: photos of walls in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, an area that is very flat. The horizon lines on theses walls mimic that flat horizon line on its landscape.

Darla Mottram