Autotroph, My Autotroph


Coyotes are just a rumor around here, for now
The kids listen, unsure. They believe completely
in holding their breath when we drive past the cemetery
On Saturdays we eat with our hands. On Sundays we pray
Monday never comes. The book says carnivores can’t
outnumber herbivores in a food chain. Flora spreads out
and gives the sun and the rain somewhere to fall
The moon is not a star, not even a minor one
to some other planet. No one will love the moon
like we do here, so far from all the more interesting bodies
We hang languorously in the sky—a word I’ve always loved
but never use—languorously spinning in a sphere
of our own weather. When our son can’t sleep
we turn him so his head is at the foot of the bed
Our daughter fears for small dogs, rabbits, and mice
then steps onto the lawn at dusk and opens her mouth to howl
Fallen trees can keep growing for decades. All their limbs
change direction, a child’s arms reaching out after a fall
for its mother. There’s no scientific name for it

Jeffrey Hermann