Whales, elephants of the deep
with fins the size of sheds
and flukes prepared to consecrate
nearby trollers.

Queen of clubs, thin, black hair
razored at edges slinking
behind bizarre second-hand dresses,
hats and vests, Fells Point.

A hat, Napoleonic or Yellowbeard typhoon,
skink darting palmettos,
hummingbird at Roth’s feeder
hanging above the lake house deck
just before, just before its earth
curved beak injects ink into twilight,
just before the tightly wound shatters
the silence, just before wings
crackle and refuel themselves,
just before newspaper clippings
of Italian cabinet members misbehaving
with washer women, just before
a tumor threatened civilization as
we know it, just before the curtain
was made of iron, just before
we found the bomb and the bomb
found the money, or was it
the other way around?

Governments got sloppy, what
with new technology: tape recorders,
answering machines and Pentagon Papers;
governments took things for granted,
until things got out of hand
Most are regrouping, reincorporating,
reconsolidating, reconciling past deeds
in hopes of positive returns
on their investments.

You didn’t think they were complete idiots,
now, did you?

In August 2015 Alan Britt was invited by the Ecuadorian House of Culture Benjamín Carrión in Quito, Ecuador as part of the first cultural exchange of poets between Ecuador and the United States. His interview at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem aired on Pacifica Radio, January 2013. He has published 15 books of poetry, including his latest, Violin Smoke, translated into Hungarian by Paul Sohar and published by Iradalmi Jelen Könyvek publishers. Read other articles by Alan.