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January 5, 2015 | Poetry

Five Hundred and Ninety Miles of Hair

Frank Montesonti

Five Hundred and Ninety Miles of Hair photo

 

A little nervous after my 70,000th cup of coffee this lifetime
I was wary of forty-three year olds
(statistically, murderers are on average 7.5 years older than their victims)

though I knew I wouldn't be murdered because
I could hear all one billion of my heartbeats rumbling
like slow thunder in the back of the sky

and was knocked over from exhaling at once the six million times
a human will exhale in a life.
Tired of lugging around a kiddie pool of 121 liters of tears
I lay down next to the river of my old clothes

that flows around the earth and slept for twenty-five years.
And I had that dream, you know the one,
where you're running really fast and hold out

your arms and for a moment start to fly.
It was a good rest on twelve mattresses
so I spent fifty years awake

unfolding the same tiny newspaper into an hour.
I thought I was blind, but I was just using all 1.2
years worth of blinks at once.

My two point three children brought me 262 pineapples for breakfast,
but after each one I felt the snakes on my gorgon
shield, wiggling, warning of something,

turning my enemies to stone.
The population of China walked by
in a single file;
the line never ends because of the rate of reproduction.

Honey never goes bad. Never.
"It rains diamonds on Saturn and Jupiter,
Diamonds!" I yelled at the twenty-four corpses of animals

I had struck dead while driving my twelve cars
through my only slightly consequential life, which consumed a small lake
of oil and acidified the ocean by a tiny, tiny percent.

Thinking of human folly I cycled through the ten
distinct types of laughter
but spent too little time on "joyous" and too much on "embarrassed."

I took 28,433 showers but I couldn't wash
that sticky feeling off.

I never liked those happy and sad, black and white
masks used as the universal symbol of drama.
In 1,700 Thai restaurants, I saw cats waving their paws: goodbye, goodbye.

If I were an octopus I would feel the world
with all three of my hearts.
The heart of a blue whale is so big a person can swim through the arteries. 

My body contains enough phosphorus to make only 2,200 match heads, but half my life was night.
The weight of it is enormous.
Luckily I can lift twenty-five tons using all the muscles in my body at once.
Every minute a child dies of Malaria at my feet, of hunger, of abuse.

I slowly unraveled the blood vessels in my body, up and up, halfway to the moon.
It was beautiful. And believe me, I know what beauty is

because briefly, the moment I was born, I was the youngest person in the world.

 

 

image: Aaron Burch


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