We will get better at it. The maps we make now,
with their overlapping leaves of sight, stitched
like quilts into a sloppy whole will blend, smooth,
and we will hardly remember what it was to wonder
what was around the next corner, to fabricate
the future view from dream weave and the past
constantly rewoven or recycled, history re-mattered,
the beach that we found, the forest we entered, the same
and not the same, eerie and evocative. No.
Now, so the dream goes, we will know what to expect.
But we've forgotten to be wary of such sight. When we can
read the labels on the spice jars in the kitchens of our enemies,
and know how the soup will taste, and feel the weight
of our enemy's daughter resting against his knee, while he—our
enemy, and this we must remember--is cleaning his shoes
or reading aloud from a book we can read from Nevada,
then we are in danger of tenderness, a knowledge that complicates
where it does not disarm, unman in its call to husband life.
Just as looking into the womb, the reverse sweep of a windshield
view in ultrasonic glare, revealed a big-headed newt's gaze
looking up with a serenity that bespoke trust we could never earn,
but caught ourselves in the act of giving rise to. What could we do
but fight amongst ourselves in the face of such a witness? What
could we argue except rights and law and money under
the surveillance of beings who could make no claim for themselves?
Who made no claim for surveillance? We read ourselves into them,
as storytellers do, and because we are afraid, we seek stories
that come out the same every time, inhumanly perfect, machines.
Even now I can feel this poem dragnetting to its conclusion, scraping
up and destroying what it can't speak—the dark in which the child
floats, the womb and maternal will, a Holy Ghost of consent wrung
out of the story, without which no child wants to live. Just as the story
of the enemy, the way he rises now and stretches his back, pauses
and listens for the truck that will take him to the ammo dump, removes
his longing to stay, his indecision, tendrils of other lives weighting
his thoughts, and causing him to decide, just before the missiles
are fired, to stop the truck, make excuses, and head home.
The drone will circle his limbs, counting up to a body, weighing
the mass, blocking our view of what we have seen, and who sees it.