“It’s Complicated”

Catherine Stearns


If you mean like the toxic material
coming down from the high plateau
in dense clouds that will change
the earth forever, or like the dark matter

in the plane of the Milky Way
that triggered the asteroid, perforce
the extinction of those creatures
I would have had to imagine

otherwise, reptiles as real as you
turning toward the feathery clouds
and away from the curve
of my eyeballs: one last sip

of your lizard hips,
the color of your wing—
you can’t bag it
if you haven’t dreamed it, right?—

or if you mean words, a name
once folded together with everlastingness
now blotted out in fury,
well, yes, complicated.

CATHERINE STEARNS is writer-in-residence at The Roxbury Latin School in Boston. Her chapbook Then & Again was published last spring by Slate Roof Press.

image: Jupiter from Voyager 1, public domain, 1979