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Saturday, July 12, 2014


by Rob Cook

A wood thrush egg thrown out of the nest by a cowbird. (Image source: Tales From the Wild)

Today I wrote a song in which Syria moved its militia into a pregnant woman’s bed.

Today I wrote a song in which a shoe, and all the sinews enslaved to that shoe, were filled with swarms of infant IEDs.

Today I pollinated a song whose final flower with petals of butterfly warheads fled Iran.

Today I praised a song for the babies born with six mouths, six legs, six skinless stomachs, and a six-billion year half-life inside the furnace of every Iraqi sand tear.

Today, by destroying a song, I made sure there were enough beds and chairs to blunt a room’s nothingness, which means a never-ending scorpion’s thirst, its memory of the desert that doesn’t die.

Today I stole a song in which the homeless built houses and raised families and food that will continue growing inside their sunburned entrails.

Today I blamed a song in which the Midwestern snow originated from a drone’s healing circle many Pakistans away.

Today I excavated, from a plant’s groin, a song that infected the Madonna Mafia with a melodic sequence of sonar terrorism.

Today I exchanged a song for the terrorist elephants, the terrorist giraffes, the terrorist oxygen, the terrorist fern forests, the terrorist mercies of medicinal marijuana, the terrorist sunsets, the terrorist shark sleep, the terrorist carrots and celery and kale that do not leave the body, the intestinal photos of the Gaza Strip taken from the cries of a child, the war on shadows, the war on people who find enough to eat without having to plant pancreatic spores in the hells of the soil, the creek bed Lakota whose fully-subsidized drinking earns the status of enemy activity, and though I saved his name on a dollar that trusted me once, I won’t discuss the terrorist child helping a turtle find its little door in the terrorist grass.

Today I climbed to the top of a song that hid the houses inhabited by live chess pieces pillaged for money that can’t be comforted or fed or held in the hand.

Today I developed a song for the water as it died.

Today I protected a song for the water as it was ridiculed.

Today I harvested a song for the water hidden one carbon minute away in the mirages that revealed another child thriving from dehydration.

In the song I can locate the Syrian helicopter nests.

I can count all of the wind’s bodies.

I can count and remove those who’ve made it to the gas chambers of heaven.

In the song I can count the salvations taken from a child’s amputated leg and copy the Western patriotism that nourishes from far away his dirt dinners and his bomb wiring and the syringes used for drinking and for putting the rain back together.

I can abandon that song by deleting the shadows the child leaves unchecked as he crawls through the artillery-cold heroin forests of Afghanistan.

I can dismantle the song by betraying each bird when it sees the child leading his headless animals into the cruel churches of my hand.

Today I beat the last song to death with a bullet casing I stole from the rubble of all the songs that would never make anyone happy again.

Today I felt no remorse for the songs and their misplaced blessings.

Today I reported both hands for their terrorist ambitions—the one that grows its own grain and the one condemned for hiding every song inside the dust hospital where God sleeps by himself with the only feather that survived.

Today I promised I would protect his otherwise secure kingdom, safe because it remains empty except for the sins of a wood thrush weeping

Rob Cook's work has recently appeared in The Bitter Oleander, Zoland Poetry, Aufgabe, Rhino, A cappella Zoo, Caketrain, Weave, and Best American Poetry 2009. His most recent book is Empire in the Shade of a Grass Blade. He lives in the East Village where he co-edits Skidrow Penthouse with Stephanie Dickinson.