Tell us your whereabouts when the blue macaw went

extinct? The white rhino? Is capitalism working, yes or no?

Is heaven a podcast of lies? Does sky-gazing make you

an accessory to existence? Name your accomplice, fear

or laughter? Explain the Big Bang to us one more time.

Give it to us straight. Is a nest of bees a papier-mâché

cathedral? Is a hurricane an engine of rage? Do words

like crocus, spiderweb, chlorophyl mean anything to you?

Why are you fidgeting? We can place you at the scene

of your birth. What body lies atop this pyre of drafts?

If the murder weapon was a flaming sword, does that

make you an angel or a serial killer? We have proof

God is a photo on a bulletin board’s most wanted list.

Why did you burn the dictionaries? We need you

to cooperate if we are going to take down yesterday

and tomorrow. The moment is in witness protection.

Let me ask you, how well do you know your shadow?

Would you be willing to wear a wire? We need to get

the full moon on tape. You are looking at a lifetime

of washing dishes and second-guessing your career.

The facts are building a case for scars, more nudity,

and angry swans. Look, we recovered the ransom

of grey clouds and parking lots! The mugshots in

your dreams are damning. The easy way is rain on

a Spring morning. The hard way is a fist hammering

piano keys. Listen to the crickets and take the deal.

Chris Banks is a Canadian poet and author of five collections of poems. His first full-length collection, Bonfires, was awarded the Jack Chalmers Award for poetry by the Canadian Authors' Association in 2004.

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