Lucas Bernhardt

I Must Have Left It in My Ivory Tower

When I ask the right questions      through a pedant fog

seven-eighths moons      with their raffish slivers

appropriate what may or may not      slither on its belly

into shallow, septic waters,      what may not settle

over bootprints, hoofprints, and tire tracks,      and may not

leach through the soil,      possess night vision or an armature

of sticks and pebbles.      The swamp changes slowly.

I read an interview      with a porcupine

transliterated beautifully      in The Paris Review.

The spirit of the times, it says,      may wander out

onto Thirty-ninth Avenue      where it is unambiguously crushed

by many cars and trucks      in succession.

In soft water      how are we to remember

always the spirit serves man,      not man the spirit?