Road Kill

In the season of squirrel suicide,
the leaves are a different color green;
the air takes on a cleaner taint
with just a smoky tinge of fear.
Jim says they are without volition,
responding to deep genetic desires;
yet, amid their hesitant stutter steps
they stop, and stare holding my eye
as if to say to us all: yes, it is time.
If they truly are without reason,
why then do they reverse themselves,
and seem to fling their soft bodies
with such spastic martyrdom
into my way and its destruction?

(Revised/reclaimed from memory, 1982/2015)

Opposed to Natural

Look at this piece of pottery, an
artifact—rare. a thing made by art,
an artificial product.  Artifex; (L.f. arti-
art + fex, -fec-em
maker, f. fac-ere
to make.) Artificer.
Artifice  :  the action of an artificer, the
making of anything
by art, construction, work-
manship.  Artificer  : one who makes
by art or skill.  Artificial :  made by
or resulting from art or artifice; contrived,
compassed, or brought about
by constructive skill, and not
spontaneously; not natural.
a. artificial in result as well as process.
This shard speaks in fragments.
Look inscribed here,
a language naturally.
And what does it say?

What dreams forced it onto clay?

(from “if this is a comedy, then why ain’t laughing,” 1993)