Why Regret by Galway Kinnel
Didn't you like the way the ants help
the peony globes open by eating the glue off?
“What? Is something happening? Is something wrong?”
“No, calm down. Calm down. I’m okay, there’s nothing wrong with my hoverchair. Just, look at this.”
“Hikaru, I am going to kill you.”
“Isn’t it awesome? They’re peonies.”
“…I am really going to kill you.”
Weren't you cheered to see the ironworkers
sitting on an I-beam dangling from a cable,
in a row, like starlings, eating lunch, maybe
baloney on white with fluorescent mustard?
“How’s the development of the city coming along, mayor? We heard of the recent attack.”
“We’re rebuilding, Lt. Uhura. There’s a lot of projects, as you can see. It’s hard, but we hope to open our concert hall—restored from the bomb damages.”
“My lads and ladies in engineering would like to help any way we can. Just put us to work any place you need. We’ve gotten very good at improvising.”
“Thank you,” the mayor inhaled. “Thank you so much. It means more than you know.”
Wasn't it a revelation to waggle
from the estuary all the way up the river,
the kill, the pirle, the run, the rent, the beck,
the sike barely trickling, to the shock of a spring?
“Ever been fishing, Spock?”
“Leonard, Vulcan is a desert planet.”
“I used to go on a fishing trip with my pa every summer. Me and my brothers, we’d head to a lake just like this one. Those were some good days.”
“We should go fishing sometime. I wouldn’t mind having you around for company.”
Didn't you almost shiver, hearing book lice
clicking their sexual dissonance inside an old
Webster's New International, perhaps having just
eaten out of it izle, xyster, and thalassacon?
“We should start a book club.”
“I was not aware that you were interested in literature, Jim.”
“I’m not, not really. But you and Nyota and Sulu are, what with all the reading you do with each other. So start a book club. And Bones likes French literature.”
“Enterprise book club. I like it, captain.”
“See? Chris thinks it’s a good idea.”
“If publishers ever found out that the Enterprise had a book club, they’d start advertising on the files. ‘Lt. Uhura’s pick of the week’ or something like that,” she smiled.
“Nyota would likely pick an obscure piece of Klingon poetry to recommend.”
“Why not?” Christine asked. “Cross-cultural exchange is always a good thing. And I’ve always wanted to read Klingon poetry.”
What did you imagine lies in wait anyway
at the end of a world whose sub-substance
is glaim, gleet, birdlime, slime, mucus, muck?
“Spock, God in Heaven damn you! Did you really need to meld with a worm?”
“It is not a worm, doctor, but a horta, the last of its kind. It was badly wounded and in intense pain.”
“You were screaming something intense there, Spock. My first mission out of the chair, and we get attacked by an acid-spitting silicon creature.”
“I apologize for any alarm I caused you, Sulu. Where is the captain?”
“He and Yota’re holding the miners back from trying to kill the horta.”
“Were you able to help it?” I asked Leonard.
“Help it? I’m beginning to think I can cure a rainy day!”
“He used the thermoconcrete almost like a skin graft, since it’s mostly silicon. The horta looks like she’ll be okay.”
Forget about becoming emaciated. Think of the wren
and how little flesh is needed to make a song.
Shore leave, early morning in a cabin in the mountains. Jim is outside on the porch, listening to the quiet, watching the way light filters through the rising mist.
Didn't it seem somehow familiar when the nymph
split open and the mayfly struggled free
and flew and perched and then its own back
broke open and the imago, the true adult,
“Lt. Chekov, for your valor in the field of battle and your excellent handling of the Tashkeng situation, I present to you the Starfleet Medal of Honor. Congratulations.”
somersaulted out and took flight, seeking
the swarm, mouth-parts vestigial,
alimentary canal come to a stop,
a day or hour left to find the desired one?
“Are you happy with what you do?”
“Da, koneshno. A tui, Irina?”
“I remember Starfleet was the only place you wanted to go. You never felt as I did.”
“I did. I just, ya prosto—”
”No. Even when we were close, you weren’t with me. You were thinking of something else. It doesn’t matter. We were young. This is where you belong.”
Or when Casanova took up the platter
of linguine in squid's ink and slid the stuff
out the window, telling his startled companion,
"The perfected lover does not eat."
“Scotty, I love you, but that’s disgusting.”
“What’re you talking about, Nyota? It might be my best sandwich yet. Just you watch.”
“I am watching. Give me that nutella—”
“Hey! Don’t disrupt the work of genius—this is going to be a symphony of taste.”
“Is that Tabasco sauce?”
“Scotty, if that doesn’t give y’all acid reflex disease, I’m going to count it as a medical miracle.”
As a child, didn't you find it calming to imagine
pinworms as some kind of tiny batons
giving cadence to the squeezes and releases
around the downward march of debris?
Because outside the memories of trauma are memories of watching the majesty of a le-matya from a distance, of nights listening to his stepfather tell ghost stories while his mother let him sit on her lap and feel her steady heartbeat, of the thrill of solving a brainteaser, of the freedom and safety being a child with the innate understanding that you are loved.
Didn't you glimpse in the monarchs
what seemed your own inner blazonry
flapping and gliding, in desire, in the middle air?
Я не верю в чудеса
Но летит машина в небеса
И теперь я твой супергерой!
Weren't you reassured to think these flimsy
hinged beings, and then their offspring,
and then their offspring's offspring, could
navigate, working in shifts, all the way to Mexico,
to the exact plot, perhaps the very tree,
by tracing the flair of the bodies of ancestors
who fell in this same migration a year ago?
Doesn't it outdo the pleasures of the brilliant concert
to wake in the night and find ourselves
holding hands in our sleep?