On the ocean floor lie treacherous seaweeds,
Long and slimy ropes that entangle and strangle.
There are enormous stingrays of the venomous persuasion,
Gigantic octopi with twelve tentacles,
Maybe they’re called dodecopi,
Squirting ink at prey and predator alike
Painting all with the same cephalopod brush.
How do I know this? I walked there once.
In pockmarked craters on the moon’s surface
Have cold rocks stood through the ages past.
No water to erode them, no wind to diminish
The jaggedness of their edges, no air to propagate
The sounds of their endless lamentation
And, in any case, no one to hear them;
Each one a mute spectator to the events of the universe,
The whole of human existence just a smidgeon in time.
How do I know this? I saw them once.
A thousand buildings dot the urban landscape,
Each housing a thousand bickering families.
Eight-year-olds shine shoes on the pavement,
Surrounded by pickpockets and startup co-founders,
And watch the sullen office clerks go by
In the shadow of monsters named CAT and JCB.
How do I know this? I lived there once.
In a small log cabin on a mountain slope
Lives a brown-haired woman with shining eyes
That look into the distance and contemplate
The flight of birds and the passage of time and the setting sun
Brings a red-orange glow to her writerly cheekbones.
She sighs and turns around, her mind preoccupied
With the next few lines of the poem she’s writing,
Begun years ago, and still unfinished.
How do I know this? I loved her once.