Back to Issue Eighteen.

Curiosity (XXX)



May you live long. – Sinhalese Greeting

Let there be more Mars in your diet, more dry
tea bags, cosmic dust. Let there be horse carts
Phaeton forgot to hobble stashed near
Cassiopeia, near Jupiter’s micro-solar system.

Let there be more gods:  god of toothpicking,
god of summer dresses risen against the thigh,
god of humidity. Let your inner Egypt
trammel you with Cessna-dropped leaflets

ranting against the way lotion calcifies near
the lid. Let your inner Egypt possess many
nameless mutts scampering away from
Martian debris, destined for international

acclaim. Let your inner Little Curly not melt
upon take-off but find its way back to some
back street in Moscow, back to training, back
to just another Laika-licensed quadroped who,

against great odds and odd politics, goes on
living forever. Let your inner Egypt and your
inner Little Curly meet up one evening on
your inner dance floor—all hard polish

and mahogany counters—let your inner DJ
play all the right records, only couples’ songs,
roller-rinking the two through the salted
business of Motown, and let them fall in

a desperate, shuttle-deployed kind of love. Let
your inner parachute fold so many times
together you defy physics. After too many
grappos, may your inner social barometer

malfunction. May you marry indiscriminately
and always in a rush. May you handle poorly
some nuance no one informed you of
beforehand, and may you laugh it off. Please

understand that praying in the new century
vacuums your inner Egypt and, once done,
discovers your inner Atlantis, and may God
bless your inner Atlantis. Let there be another

afternoon so close in temperament and degree
to your favorite one, your Tahitian evening.
May you stand tall in a shower not your own
and declare the soap unrighteous, because

your stink is holy and so is theirs, because
today feels like the kind of day where body
odor came from the gods. God of the armpit,
god of the noon showering. God of morning

breath. Let your inner Egypt declare you holy
without sacrifice, though sacrificial lambs will
be found, catalogued, and released near
rye fields. Let your inner Laika mate

with your inner Nakhla, and may you bark
long, without a lozenge, without a shuttle. Let
there be another day in your pipeline. Let
there be someone waiting for you at home

who also enjoys women’s golf and talk radio,
who also pretends to sleep when you pretend
to sleep, who also wakes up early because
coffee wins over the hope of another

dream. Let all of this be true, but more than
that, let the flies surrounding your porch fall
for you one night, and let you remember that
the gods these days are mighty small, that they

have a billion eyes all pointed at you, that they
have wings and grow from maggot sex, that
they do not mind what you’ve done because,
to them, it’s all a bit confusing anyway, with

your two feet, your thumbs, your inability
to land on shit and find sustenance. Let your
inner Egypt catch one and hold it until its
buzz quits, and may you let that god live long.

Patrick Whitfill has poems and reviews appearing or forthcoming in Colorado Review, Threepenny Review, Subtropics, Kenyon Review Online, West Branch, and other journals. Currently, he teaches at Wofford College and co-curates the New Southern Voices Reading Series.

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