Albert Goldbarth

Heirarchy, Lowerarchy


Two a.m.Ý The dog barks in the yard, and so

the child in her bed wakes up and whimpersóa synopsis

of the way one level stirs the next, to act out parts

that may well have their origin, for all we know, on levels

as primordially distant as the birth

of helium out of the quarky void, and as unfathomably

nano as the space between two particles of light.

Inhuman levels.Ý AlthoughÖ.Ý And neverthelessÖ.

Arenít we a final, single note

composed of a course of elements singing

of struggle and fusion?Ý Arenít Punch and Judy,

Zeus and Leda, macrosize retellings of the endless story

ìSperm and Eggî?Ý And so itís hard to figure

if the voice arrives from outside or somewhere

psychochemicalóNoah; Joan of Arc.Ý Our urges may be

a ventriloquism practiced by the stars

and by the dust among them.Ý Who knows what

the dog heard, and from what source?Ý I can only say,

having visited them the next day, that it tore its leash

and bolted through their insufficient slatwork fence

and headed for the pond, and thatówhile they

still sleptóthe child deftly left her bed and followed,

and drowned.Ý What good were my empty condolences?

Sherman, with his head in his arms; and Drew,

with her hand ineffectually on his shoulder;

and Ellen, attempting to hug them both

óthe atomic structure of grief.