or would you like a Valium?
Circe asked as we lay in her den of armchairs,
the temptress fluttering behind glasses.
Our foreheads felt the same, possibly we were both ill.
I undressed her, got her into pajamas, read to her
from an orange tome, the first bound thing
my fingers found.
No winter in the Galapagos—
always it is springtime
and the thousand-year-old tortoises grow
big as beds because they don’t hunt, don’t dream,
don’t make a sound.
Never mind the rain soon stops,
winter passes, we’ll waken
and plant vegetables together.
I lay beside her, removed her thick glasses
and we huddled under blankets
while I told her story after story
of lizards, of the evolutionary abyss, the reason
for the width of railway tracks.
I described tropical fish, their frenzied breeding
in large pools in Valletta, St. Sebastian
and the astringency of arrows,
natural selection and survival
of the finches. Sometime in the night,
my strategy evolved.