In Ruins, Petulu, Bali

R. Nemo Hill

The Laurel Tree—Because Daphne
Prayed to the Gods for Help When Apollo
Wouldn’t Take No for an Answer

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This is how magic works against us—
how being in hell is not always necessarily a bad thing—
how the odor from the man sitting nearby decomposes oxygen—
how the feral cat bites the hand that feeds it—
how newspaper headlines promise to lie
and skin sickness spreads into leaves of hair—
sorrow bends tears into strings of bark—
a minute slaves into an hour, the lecturer going on and on,
an hour becoming a day, a day a week, the pen out of ink,
the pencil lead broken, a time to sleep, a time to stretch,
a heart stone, the grain in laminate, rings of tile,
the number of seats in one row, the moon, the sun,
the moon, the sun, the moon, the sun, the moon,
clouds, rain, snow, frost, the moon, the sun, the moon,
the sun and the man at the lectern still speaking
clears his throat finally, swallows an imaginary wind,
begins to sing—the sweat of swamp, the swamp of musk,
a triage of lips/tongue/throat: an eczema of wood.