Twenty Questions with a Philosopher Iguana
When I Look Up an Iguana Turns His Head Away From the Sun
He asks: What is beginning?
Something I never notice, like my nails growing.
I hiccup, forgetting why I’m waterside
or that we’re both abandoned
like balloons at a wedding.
A foraging pelican winks at me
twice. Somewhere in Nevada
a goldfish has resolved
to starve to death.
He asks: What if aspens aspire to silence,
which the wind has outlawed?
I trust the expired volcano
that admits its vulnerability
more than an escalator step moving
wearily into the destined position.
He asks: Are you inculpable
enough? Drinking down the winter
that brims my southern eye socket,
I freed my ravaged enemy
with an unrecognizable bear hug.
He asks: Will you pity a graffitied lamppost
or the machinist imprisoned by his own gadget?
I, speechless, only think of my father.
He asks: Can you love
in all the ways love is named?
Today I bike to work and run over
a coconut leaf the size of my leg,
shaved off by last night’s razor storm.
No bell tower tolls for this fall;
even the rising sun turns a blind eye.
The frond blocks the narrow sidewalk
like a fish bone stuck in the town’s throat.
When I run over it,
the fish bone gives a moan
as if spitting a bubble.
Celery on the cutting board. A bamboo
broom sweeping the sea into a ditch.
Dew splashes. Three tiny lizards
flee with their tails curled.
A woman yawns in her fern-green jeep
waiting at the traffic light.
Desolation echoes. My porch light
long broken. Mailbox unchecked,
and I bike to work. Summer is eternal.
Somewhere, a couch longing
for my lolling skeleton: if sharp enough,
my ribs could lacerate the moon.
Tire marks all over my spine.
Soul never closer to soil.