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Clade Song 4

We Hug Our Extinction

I came upon Eliot, six, who was playing with his toys
in the living room just now.  One of those over-the-couch-
and-across-the-coffee-table epics.  Remember those?  I asked him
how it was going, and he replied that he was just finishing up
Season Two, Episode One.  Time marches on, and it’s
a forced march, across the couch and over the coffee table.  
Mippy is the protagonist, made of LEGOs, a gray two
with holes for eyes, with a yellow beak-like piece, one of those
slanting on one end pieces, all on top of a short mini-figurine
body that originally belonged to a Spongebob.  We describe things
because not knowing is a mess—having something to say
gives one something to hold onto.  I’m going gluten-free.  
I’ve been most free for a month now.  It’s fine, mostly, though
gluten-free bread still has some hurdles to overcome.  And now
there’s this doctor on TV saying going gluten-free is stupid.  
It’s Lesson Number One, where dinosaurs don’t become extinct,
they become birds instead, and is this more a process of hand-
in-hand or hand-in-glove?  Maybe hand-in-pocket or hand-
in-cookie jar or hand-in-blender.  There comes a time where you
just say forget it—enough playing nice or whatever—here’s what
I’m going to do about whatever.  Or better, here’s what I really think
about whatever it was that happened, which turns out to be
a more tricky proposition than one imagines at first.  First, there’s
What Really Happened, and all the attendant studies where both
my brother and I are sure each was the one to do whatever it was
we were arguing that we did thirty years ago.  It’s the “which
one of us dropped the hammer and which of us got hit in the head?”
that Nick was telling me about a couple months ago.  And then,
more trickery, is the What I Really Think About It.  Is it a Monday
or a Tuesday thinking?  Hungry or tired thinking?  The end
completes the theme, so that until the end, the theme is a cat
in a box in an indeterminate state.  The fleas are sure, though,
so we talk about fleas.  And kitten pictures that we pass around
with captions in simplified spellings, something in the cute language
of cute things.  Better to keep your eyes closed, maybe, except
that in any bounded system there’s going to be that one, that kitten
on the keyboard as you’re trying to type, that leaves you saying OK,
I usually don’t share these things, but this one . . . .  And so
I ask Eliot about the series, how it’s going, and he says
the Eiffel Tower just fell down, and we’re all turning into aliens.  



john gallaher John Gallaher is author of three books of poetry, Gentlemen in Turbans, Ladies in Cauls; The Little Book of Guesses, winner of the Levis Poetry Prize from Four Way Books; and Map of the Folded World, and the co-author with G.C. Waldrep of Your Father on the Train of Ghosts. His new book In a Landscape will be published by BOA in 2014. His free online chapbook Guidebook is available from Blue Hour Press. An assistant professor of English at Northwest Missouri State University, he is co-editor of The Laurel Review and Green Tower Press.