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Clade Song 10

We had meant to be here

Was truer to our human bodies
Than “we were meant to be here,”
Mounted on an oil derrick and a whale’s back.
Those who had touched with little force,
“The things of this earth”
As we watched some others pillage her,
Felt the burden of our lightness now.
I used to love to watch him gambol,
Feet hardly touching the ground.
I wanted to be written just so
But in the dream my feet inevitably
Tapped the telephone wires
Just as I began flying.
“We had meant to be here”
Meant something different now
“We were meant to be here” ascended,
Smoke inside of rainbows.

What would you see if you could see me now?
What would she look like now seen from space?
I am seeing you or something resembling her
From such a distance, we the giant child
Of our mistaken conversation.
Baby’s first step crumbles the Pacific Rim.
The aqueducts have filled the pools
Of the western hemisphere and there we were,
Toeing a margin.  Did she just say Mommy
Or is that only our death you hear in the wind?

In the afterlife I found nothing but revision.
Great sighing and longing, speaking an apostrophe. 
A toe, the digit of my human foot,
Or front part of a hoof.
The lower end of a shaft.

Our glorious animalhood.





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Claudia Keelan’s most recent book are We Step into the Sea: New and Selected Poems (Barrow Street) and Ecstatic Émigré: An Ethics of Practice from the University of Michigan Poets on Poetry Series. She lives in the Mojave Desert.