A Brief History of Almost Everything
No one could say exactly when it began,
some unseen fabric unraveling into something else,
composition more a matter of perspective,
design just as often happy accident.
Of course, there was a garden
where things could grow and go wrong,
full of bird calls, skittering of squirrels,
more things blooming than your wildest spring.
The devil, it seems, was there, living
behind the chimney on a white house
on Davis Avenue, three brothers,
cotton mills, graveyards and baseball fields,
hospitals and book mobiles,
and the usual presence of loss.
And then one man after another
tried to take over, the best
of them merely inadequate.
Next, girls appeared, the first time
on horseback. He rode behind one named Sunshine.
Four years older, she placed his hand
beneath her shirt, the other between her legs.
The rubbing was all that was needed.
They each tried to remake Mama
in their own way, each failed
more than once, settling after awhile
on something approximating bliss,
involving children and lawnmowers,
and places to keep what mattered.
Finally, he realized that all his thoughts
of first, then, next were little more than
convenience, and so he tried a poem
to get it all down the way it happened,
a little messy and all at once.