Outside Grandma’s Apartment, Windsor Condominiums, Early 1990s
You said they were alien brains / and I believed you. My child imagination took over. / Maybe yours did, too. / I was just old enough to know / we were pretending, / which made it more fun. / I didn’t know then that the alien brains / were actually dried-up, dead thistles—spherical, barbed—/ so I took some in my hands / and collected them in my pockets. / Ask: Did you see yourself / in the future, cupping the last pill / in your palm as we walked inside / to show our grandmother? / Say: You looked like you might— / your now sallow eyes staring down at something— / as I unpacked the woody remains. / Ask: Take them back outside? / Say: Of course, they prick the fingers— / back into the imaginary world / where you created them. / Ask: Is this where you live now? / Say: I never really knew you. / Ask: Does that mean I can’t write / your elegy now? Say: I know / about making worlds. Ask: What happens / when the aliens leave their brains behind? / Say: It does two things: / makes beings that can live without thinking / and assures they won’t know what they’re missing.