And what of the grammar we were griven those years,
Or the one we invernted,
Elaborate, full of beasts of the stupendous cortex,

Or were they sparrows?
Were they fearfulness with feathers, wings
not clipped but short,
and the birdy parasites

Thinking about gummy things, stores of
bright light we orbited, circling
A home for these parasites,
the child below us circling too

Saying “Is there a chair?” “No.” “Is there a window?”
“No.” Testing all of vocabulary
over and over, a parrot in small clothes
we’d buttoned him into, patient,

the grammar we invented for our own vocabulary
to nourish it before we forgot,
the day was that heavy

and the poem was narrative, narrative,
the planet had turned and was gradually cooling,
the syrup of its surface was congealing to stone,
tundra, waterfalls in some places

where the people camped and ate caribou over fires,
wearing jackets,
feeling at home.

This appeared in the March 2017 issue of The Walrus.

Erín Moure is a poet and translator. Planetary Noise: Selected Poetry of Erín Moure will be published this year, as will her translation of Brazilian writer Wilson Bueno's Paraguayan Sea.

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