I’m not talking about the underside of a kitten’s
belly, or the layers of dress on a modest woman’s

corpse. I don’t mean that beneath the skin there’s
a world of vein, meat and bone. No, I’m talking about

mantle and core – the viscous, shifting substrata
beneath the camel’s hoof, beneath the sand,

beneath the crust beneath the sand. I think there are
birds in there, flying around inside the earth’s body,

birds flying over oceans, streams and lakes, children
laughing beside rivers, mothers calling them home

to supper by beating wooden spoons on the sides
of aluminum pots. It doesn’t matter that we can’t see

them, or even that my theory has been disproven.
I go where the laughter is, pure and simple, and I say

this ball of clay is really an onion, a snake coiled
around a bouncing ball, a swirl of petals exploding

from bud. It’s simple, really: love is the pack on a
hitchhiker’s back, everything he owns, everywhere

he goes, the only article that can’t be left behind.
And we’ve all got our thumbs out, pointed towards

that other realm, the one beneath the skin, beneath
the bone and marrow and veiny streams of blood, where gods

await us like lovers, like dense smoke, like cracked
and forgotten mirrors, reflecting the singular route home.