Cynthia Dewi Oka, Suppose You Were a Komodo Dragon

Yellow-tongued incubus & graveyard
mercenary. Armor of hardened dust. The music-
less plow through earth’s gauntlet of flies.

Suppose beneath eyelids of stone, you never
tried to resist your fate. To sabotage all attempts
at flight. All flesh lambent & flaking

to memory. Each sun-burnished link
in bloodlines of need you’ve chewed with titanic
relish. Suppose God were a big toothy

chamber inside you. Swallowing all day
even as the breeze turns your head with news
of fresh carrion. Venom & bravado are

your deliverance in ambush but then
you lie, supine in the heat, feeling ghosts move slow
& unyielding through you. Yes,

you’ve looked over extinction’s edge.
Silently cursed your resilience amidst the liquid
bones & star-stricken panic. As much

sacrilege as the migrations you incite,
the rocks you make us pile on our dead. In captivity,
you’ll eat whatever you’re served.

Suppose none of us got here by choice,
just by the strength of our longing & greed
to recalibrate patterns of separation.

Suppose the land, like the body, broke
apart, without a way to return. Like you, we might
evolve into the meanest cleanup crew

there ever was. Meet the night’s tusk
with the shank of our skin. Have stranded
like a pincer in our blood. We’ll fight

all our lives to work for nothing
more than a godforsaken hole in the ground,
a totem of regret.