At first we were stones, thrown over the backs
of the flood's survivors. When we revealed arms,
sprouted legs, we could see what animals were
talking about: the rush of sensations, the burst
of need for warmth vs. cold. No more hardness
except in our future ways toward one another,
when the world grew older, and many deaths
had chased enthusiasm away. At the beginning,
though, even the sun was a surprise, a face
laughing with us instead of mocking our lives.
The sky gave us rain, which we applauded,
as if an audience happy with everything it saw.
Lying on our backs, did we know the facts
would pick us up, throw us around, a cyclone
with a white milky center of decay? Oh, pretty
skin, oh, beautiful teeth. Until then we loved them.
Our sweet and simple flesh, alert, eager eyes.
Donald Illich has published work in LIT, Passages North, Nimrod, and other journals. He was a semi-finalist for the Boston Review/"Discovery" Poetry Contest. Poems were recently accepted by Rattle and Bluestem. He lives in Rockville, MD where he works as a writer-editor. His blog is www.sketchofanastronaut.blogspot.com.