by Dian Sousa
‘There is a love of wild nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love ever showing itself…
— John Muir
Through the broken window of the shipping department,
the fat, poisoned hip of a cloud thrusts its black flesh and bursts.
It rains steroids and gasoline. And we are so thirsty.
We try not to drink, but we always do.
I tell my shipping mate, Marcos,
it's the end of the world, man.
No, he says, it's just Monday.
Every Monday is the end of the world.
After the inebriated revolution of Saturday
and the utopian nap of Sunday,
we are caught again like small dogs and sun-bloated lizards.
Lined up collared and costumed, even the children,
whom we swear we will still recognize, but never do.
Dream-gutted, we ignore the itch
and have grown accustomed to the hollow.
When the steroids kick in, I ask Marcos
the same question I ask every Monday,
Hey man, where the hell are the animals?
Marcos always answers,
Don’t drag them into this, again.
And please stop drinking.
But today he says, be quiet.
Something wild has been spotted in the lobby.
She is wearing a rough crown made of oak leaves and mud,
wrapped in a blanket of grass and green feathers,
she sniffs at the air, does not like what she smells.
She is not alone. Children ride on her back.
Their hair is wet and full of leaves; their little costumes are shredded.
We can hear them praying loudly to the ocean,
praising the rising wave and the spiraling winter sky.
Their heads are turned in our direction as if they recognize us.
Marcos, I say, I am going out to meet them.
But Marcos is already gone.
He’s used the box-cutter to slice off his tight collar.
He’s broken all the light bulbs and smashed the office chairs.
It is as hushed and dark as the slow heart of a tree.
But then I hear it—a hoot, a whoop, a howl.
I run after him, but all I catch
is the flash of his white flank sprinting toward the lobby.
The lobby, when I reach it, is full of dirt.
Thick saplings bust through the floor.
Jack-rabbits and deer leap from the utility closet.
There’s a Great Horned Owl perched on the stool
of the collapsing information desk.
I find Marcos at last, dreaming
at the edge of a newly freed river.
He points to a thick-bellied cloud about to burst.
We open our mouths so wide
we can see each other's souls again—
empty cups of light filling in the new rain.
* * * * *
"Last Monday" is from Dian Sousa's book The Marvels Recorded in My Private Closet (Big Yes Press, 2014).
Dian Sousa is the reverend and head mother of The Center for Mystification and Delight. She offers her poems as anthems in the matrifocal revolution. She hopes they will help dismantle the heavy, ugly walls of patriarchy. She has written three books of poems and is at work on a fourth. Her most recent book is The Marvels Recorded In My Private Closet (Big Yes Press, 2014). She is a recipient of a 2019 Luso-American Fellowship to the DISQUIET: Dzanc Books International Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal.