Poem | Anti-Narcissus

I can’t be fast as the filmed snake whiplashes.
I can’t be fast as the heron snaps.
I can be slow.

The child streaked from crying against its mother in the bus shelter
clutches the plastic chess-piece
picked from the complex’s dumpster.

Under a stoplight at night, someone’s son’s pimpled face glares red. It is so quiet,
a little down from here the roads may no longer intersect.
The sumac lamps

have flaked flameless.
In the import store I lifted a plastic sack
of red powder from Turkey, turned it hourglass-over,
put it back

still as the handful-sized heap of maple seeds
nestled by the engine block
all winter is now,

scooped out and scattered on the snow-crust
like chips of moon in
Antarctic ice.

Each moon-chip is a seed. No human will live
to see it flower. There is something in me so slow

it will be around even then.

But to know what that is
would be like seeing in this bucket’s disk of frosted ice
my reflection.

Published in the April 15, 2016 issue: 

Brandon Krieg is the author of a poetry collection, Invasives (New Rivers Press), a finalist for the 2015 ASLE Book Award in Environmental Creative Writing. He lives in Kalamazoo, Mich. and is a founding editor of the Winter Anthology: www.winteranthology.com.

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