If comedy were innate in me, I could play the part
they want me to enact. A man walks to the Condor
Topless Bar. Smoke moves from him like a locomotive.
He has no umbrella. He is me. I am he. Without a mother,
without a father, without a partner, without lovers—
we are all uncovered, fast, and trying to stay lit.
Concentric circles radiate a network of codes,
refractions, heartbeats, and years like the trees.
But there are four hundred trees per person
and a Eucalyptus alone is older than any of us.
Regardless, we don’t learn from sympathetic
structures. We tear things apart, no consolations.
Unlike sea turtles and elephants, our erasures
offer no take-away for the predator here
there is no shell, no tusk. When some disappear
all that happens is a radius of quiet expanding.
Water meeting other water—this is how it is
without families, without identities, how it feels
for the spirit to be left behind. Everything becomes danger.
Every sound is a predator—because a predator is anything
that leaves, and leaving is the only thing with teeth.
Cassandra Rockwood-Rice self-publishes a small art and literary zine called Rag. She works for an arts non-profit and lives in California with her wonderful daughter and three brilliant cats. She is an award-winning poet with writing published in several national reviews and journals, including New Delta Review and Rip Rap. She has a poem forthcoming in Hawai’i Review. Cassandra holds a BA from California Institute of Integral Studies and an MFA in writing from California College of the Arts. She loves to travel and take on new artistic projects. She is interested in ecology, borders, identity, diasporas, and confession.