Alice Firman

When did we first

entertain the notion
all this was made for us?
In what B.C. was that?
And who was the thinker
who chewed his nails
down to the bloody quick,
shunning his fields
and his best brown goat
to come up with what
every four-foot, crawly,
leafy thing knows better?

What teeth-shattering
cold coerced him—
rolled up in his nightly rag—
to seek such consolation?

Surely he knew nothing
of us, our smattering
of smarts: smart phones,
smart alecks, smart asses,
smart bombs, and how—
thanks to mischief, mayhem,
and Michelangelo—
we swallowed his line,
happy to agree with him.
Even the skinny kid,
his arm around his girl,
walking the back lane
in this forsaken town,
thinks his pounding heart
the drumbeat of this world.

Never mind the daisies’
argument with Coke cans
and orange peels raging
in the ditch, and overhead
the crows who recognize
human faces—so they say—
and remember.