The Blood of the World
Christopher Cokinos

The desert grows darker then brighter.
The moon clears snags,
and things in the mountains
and things in the valley
grow daggers from their hardy skin.

They’re not meant for you.
Only, they are meant for you
if you commit some fault,
and if your feet could be everywhere,
everywhere would be the dangerous
marks of questions preceded
by the blood of the world.

Why are you always missing
someone you do not know?
Why are you flayed apace upon
thorns of mercury light,
acacia claws of the underneath?

You gain a former shore, this desert, peeled
to shavings by your latest journey:
If you were a microscope
perhaps you’d understand better
the branches of plasma
the trees inside pumping undulant
red and black, proteins folded proper

or proteins’ folds misplaced. Receptors
hosting or hostile, reuptakes promiscuous
and puritan, the patterns nearly geologic of shapes
everywhere, inside as out, waiting
for what they’re made to do or, now, made

to do better: Swallow daily to sing more sweetly
in the pump and surge and synapse of it, the head
in hands now legs crossed with ease,
in leisure or restless invitation.
Strength returns as connotation does. Your lens.
That’s a paradox. That you become yourself
more and more by saying these strange things.

Walk high enough | and thin and thin and thin the thorns do go.