The Internet makes me anxious
Any voice can speak at me whenever it wants,
can deliver to me whatever it likes.
I want to hole up in my house and then
I want to jump into the ocean.
I read an article that says, Giving birth
to a solar system is more chaotic
and dangerous than anyone thought.
And I think, really? I say it out
loud to myself, really? Did we think
such things were tidy? The internet
tells me I belong in L.A. That I
am Julia Sugarbaker, Martin Crane,
and Tami Taylor. I want to tell you
something: I invented the internet.
At first I thought it was a punishment
for anyone who leaves me. Then I thought
it was a library. Now I know it is a ghost
of me that makes a ghost, too,
of the living me. It is a shadow,
only un-moveable. I pour tea into
the internet and watch it sizzle
but the internet rises up again
to write out my death story
in google image searches.
Baby deer, baby deer, happy
birthday Caroline, field
of poppies, newborn goat.
Before the podcast I knew nothing
About ducks. Oh sure, I could list mallard,
Muscovy, I could tell you about the purple-black
of feathers and the duckling (Muscovy) who I
found broken-necked in the swale when our love
was young. How I wanted to smash it out of kindness
but was too weak so I walked away and cried
in traffic, surrounded by construction machines
that rise from disarray like horrible mother birds.
I know the oils of my hand are death to a duckling,
whose mother will abandon it at the scent of me.
I say eider duck and vaguely think Maine, a harbor
that rises and recedes enough to look desolate
as the moon at low tide. Past that, I am a fool,
even still. I know to say buffleheads and hooded
mergansers and that wood ducks are the pretty ones,
the painted harlequin hussies of the duck world,
a harlot of a bird, the radio says.
On the internet it is all pink
oceans and arranged succulents
or the bird-thin collar bones
of ballerinas, contoured in black
and white. The shadows they make
are dancers too, and then another
shadow on a brain. Every screen
is a picture window where I can choose
the picture but if I am careful I will choose
my brain instead. Only a brain
can save you from annihilation.
Her favorite souvenir is a fancy brass camel her brother-in-law brought her from Oman.