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Clade Song 13

We Might Somehow Save the Waning

I have said that there are two classes of dung beetles.
Fleas, ticks, and flies also lay their eggs in feces.

I have said that the last days of the wild Mongolian ass were fast approaching.
That if we resisted apricots, grapes, and great masses of sand, we might somehow save
     the waning.

There were lamas who sang in the temple halls of Linga-Gompa.
And one who was immured in a cave at dawn.

Finally, great migrations of red-crowned cranes blessed me simply by flying over.
Intoxicants, long embedded in the flesh, reminded us of a river gone wrong.

The pleasant hours were spent throwing salt over the shoulder. Then into a wound. Then
     into the sea we knew was our mouth.
We pleaded for a linguist. A mapmaker. For anyone who could scup the tongue.

On second thought, perhaps there are three classes of dung beetles. Maybe four.
Some are rollers. Others, tunnelers. Still others are known as dwellers.

Yes, like them I am often attracted by the dung collected by a burrowing owl.
Sometimes I fly. Sometimes I dig. Sometimes, as I sink, I massage the gold dust of words
     right out of the ground.


George Kalamaras is former Poet Laureate of Indiana (2014–2016). He is the author of twenty-three collections of poetry—fourteen full-length books and nine chapbooks. He is Professor Emeritus of English at Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he taught for thirty-two years. He lives with his wife, writer Mary Ann Cain, and their beagle, Blaisie, dividing their time between Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Livermore, Colorado, in the mountains north of Fort Collins.