The Great Experiment | Carl Boon

First there was an uncertain wind
bearing east then west,
sometimes battering us & sometimes
it felt like romance. A blanket to shield
the dying, a blanket given by a lover.
So we decided to plant trees
where there were none,
build caves, and converse
on notions of longitude, latitude,
parallels & God. We dreamed tigers
before we saw them & made living statues
of ourselves in the sun.

As the centuries passed we ate the corn
then told stories of our eating it;
we built bridges and wondered
of the ones who’d see them fall—
if they’d remember us who’d fallen for them.
One midsummer morning came a call
that we needed protection, sacrifice,
certain roots to make us delirious.
We had to be more than we were,
they said—longer arms, a restructuring
of the mountains. Our very flesh needed
new considerations.

I took my sister by the hand, we stopped
in a field of dying strawberries,
& surveyed the behind-us: little fires,
toddlers chanting with sticks at their hips,
the colors of the earth as yet unnamed.
I carried her forward with the thought
she needed reassurance, sunflowers,
days to repeat. Now she’s tall & I’m tottering
toward senility, the all of all the nothings
we’ve never been. They’ll put me gently
on boards of pine one day
& carry me away.

Carl Boon is the author of the full-length collection Places & Names: Poems (The Nasiona Press, 2019). His poems have appeared in many journals and magazines, including Prairie SchoonerPosit, and The Maine Review. He received his Ph.D. in Twentieth-Century American Literature from Ohio University in 2007, and currently lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at Dokuz Eylül University.

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