Timothy Donnelly

From a breadth of time so infinitesimal it lies beyond
human perception, from an airspace no nation has ever
laid claim to, emitting intel from the year’s first snowflake
intermixed with its last known rose, not yet rankled,
not irrevocably, naked of foot but in expressive hosiery,
pumped-up thirsty or morose for data, I will reenter
earth’s atmosphere with game plan readied way in advance,
but open to debate, chance, obliteration and its opposite.

I have been sent here to warn you. The gum splotches
ubiquitous on sidewalks house sufficient genetic whatnot
to repopulate a desert planet. The Brussels sprout
is best if boiled, buttered, and salted. The current mania
for roasting it unrecognizable is a construct of hatred.
The Rosicrucians were a boy band. Everyone else
was entourage, cataloging footage of failures to synthesize.
Love is not love when it insists on comprehending itself.

This is love—and it’s spreading outward, as with umbels
of uncertain plants. Science has not yet caught up with
what I’m about to do to that sandwich. Look away:
Trust instincts in the hand to choose your best defense.
I have just now swallowed a tremendous mouthful
of pickled herring. Am I running a bath here, or a brothel?
Whatever I do next, it will be this, or not this: I can’t
do otherwise. In this respect, I can be said to be a fatalist

in disguise, bound to textiles I can’t predict, incapable
as the goldfinch last to hit the thistle patch, or as implacable.
Vividness is not accuracy. I couldn’t be in two places
at once, unless I were a bird. A burning sensation is often
first to notice the salt, to notice wind, to notice a salt
wind rattling at night the house’s loose-most casements.
Casualty has its moments. Pandora’s box was just a jar
before Erasmus mangled it. A hope kept deep inside, iron-

winged, might well be delusion. I have been sent here
on a mission. What I lack in discipline I will make up for
in stamina. I’m looking into the matter, the mirror, the abyss.
I’m looking into the camera: It’s hidden in a rambling
plastic philodendron, escalating my soliloquy up the face
of Mount Olympus. Comeuppance is informal. Music is
from the Greek. The gravity is palpable, the gravity and light
septifurcating into infinite threads like felt mathematics

or an ordinary sunset shred by surfactants in a birdbath
made of clay. Hephaestus shaped Pandora out of that.
Athena taught her to weave. Aphrodite gave her grace
and, at Zeus’s behest, a bitter longing through her limbs.
We are her children. It must have felt like hoisting up
from the sea’s bottom a big blonde octopus, pinning wide
her baffled arms, then staining them an unreal white.
The highest point the podcast said of wisdom is to know

what you don’t, which is everything, which was a quote.
I have filled the feeder up but word still hasn’t gotten out.
Persistence of the past depends largely on technology,
including one’s offspring and the four-poster bed.
I have come to notice, to understand, and bearing light
snaffled from a star so minor only Alpha Centauri doesn't
take pity on us. I am here to take pity on us. I am here
on a dare, a dime, a lark. The universe tends inexorably

toward disorder. I have come to set fire to and come to set
things right. I am hovering over the flame like a father
assembling a cradle, or as Prometheus did it with it stuck
in a fennel stalk, an aroma of smoldering anise trailing
behind him the whole way down, knowing he could turn
around before anyone noticed, cover his tracks, return
things back where they belonged, and what didn’t belong
anywhere could be destroyed, but that’s not what he did.