URGE'S ENGINE, BY STEVE MUESKE
Just to be is exacting and costly.
For every sublime moment,
nature invents a new form of cruelty.
For every love, a love
remains masked. Every time
I ache to cup your face, a wasp
injects eggs into a tender caterpillar.
Its young will eat their way
out, oblivious to the tenets of malice.
All it knew was the plant's scent
of alarm: an urge too irresistible
to ignore. What is urge’s engine,
if not desire? For every light
haloing the bloodgood maple,
every arrival of a moon blued
by smoke, a sparrow hawk shreds
a pigeon mid-air, bloody feathers
a spray of snowy unmaking.
What are we to make of this ruthless
end? I am troubled. My heart,
a music box playing with old combs.
And this is not the end of it. While
driver ants march out of African mounds
in miles-long rows, devouring everything
in their path—plants, houses, the flesh
of any living animal penned
in the black tide—the ocean
sings its single and everlasting note
Steve Mueske is an electronic musician and the author of two poetry collections and a chapbook. His poems have appeared recently in The Iowa Review, Cream City Review, The Normal School, The Pinch, Verdad, Jet Fuel Review, Thrush, Verse Daily, and elsewhere.