Rodney Koeneke


Up what streets are your dependents wandering?
Do you know where your kidneys are?
Homogalactic, we suck
      The same milk-dad's gone
And the bathroom is ours.

You stroll the compound with a kind of
Bemused detachment-these were your orders, this
      Your prize squaw. The sacrificial altars
Were doubtless in the last days overused,
Clogging with entrails on weekends enough
      To drive any corporal to booze.

Tomorrow's a day auspicious
For your transfer. When you're finished
      With that, let's dance
To some weird form of reveille,
Admire the colors in native flags
Or, if you want something more forbidden
      I think I can manage that, too.

Eating and sleeping in railroad yards,
Fishing for coins from the glacier's
Crevasse-is there any chance, people,
      We can do better? Attitudes flickered
Through the cricketless night;
When we hit the first skull we picked
Up our shovels and stopped the excavation just
      Long enough to thaw

And English went up like an office block
With some of the cubicles yours
      In which to build shelves for this year's
Australopithecus-of-the-Year Award, which carries
No money, but a certain raffish glamour
Of succession, having won the last
      One, and the one
That you won before that.

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