Craig Foltz
| TWO PETROGLYPHS

DEADLY PONIES

Sulphur lacks evidence. It produces huge domes of salt which loom in between us. There are reams of the earth’s crust, cut up into triangles and arranged on vintage ceramic plates.

You claimed your room full of spineless books was little more than happenstance. The titles are revelatory. Geranium Blues. Tiger’s Refrain. The BBQ Killers.

One of us wields spiky grass stalks behind our opercles to ward off hallucinatory strangers. The other stops washing their hair and lets it turn into a matted clump that takes the shape of a delicate conch shell. Our fear of the dark cannot be alleviated by light-producing organs nor by links between modified eye muscles and powdery sugar.

You say, “Some ponies achieve death before they achieve flight.”

Their goal is to achieve a state of complete darkness via methods of simplicity and universal appeal. In this way, the pony becomes dependent upon phosphate fertilizers and the deep lustrous purples found in young girl’s notebooks.

One pony may never sit still. Another must acquaint themselves with oats and pearl barley.

 
· · ·


I remove the hull and other outer layers. I hulk through gardens of wavy sea grass in search of sulphate deposits and vents of superheated water. You say, Stop it, that tickles.

To cure this fear darkness we visit the drab office of an alchemist, but the alchemist offers us only fumigants, balms and antiparasitics. She lays her hooves on the counter and says, “While you are at it, you may as well take these too.”

 
· · ·


We are hull-less now and wander through the streets, in search of outer layers or bio- luminescence. We wear the hooves of others on loose strings dangling around our necks. Turns out, there are very few of us who possess these specialized electroreceptors.

But without them, how would we locate one another? How would we keep ourselves still and in the proper context? How would we recognize the shape of each other’s faces?  

GRASS ISLANDS

We know so little about disease, except that a pathogen requires a pathogenic host. And that semantic change may also ensue.

Also: Nurses all over the world will quarantine themselves.

We know so little about the nature of a verb, other than it is abandoned, unstuck and floating in space. Should parent languages be unravelled via data harvesting? Should sodium bicarbonate be re-combined?

Whales in pods, seeds in plastic trays.

· · ·


You say, “I’ve heard it said that before there were humans, there were other humans. And before them there were still other humans too. It’s depressing.” But there is no one to talk to so no one answers.

We rely on markers to distinguish between species.

The scent of a freshly hewn peach. The sound of iron rods and brass cords. Membrane-bound organelles and their associated subsets.

· · ·


The story goes like this: They used to hoard pamphlets and other seditious materials, but turned them over to the authorities in order to pursue collective structures and other morphology. Dander vs dandruff. Flying fox vs Colonel Sanders. Viral vs bacterium.

A small pellet of colored sugar.

Oh, to feel the gentle tug of taxonomies! Oh, to understand morbidity through sentient epidemiology!

But then again.

Some of us here cannot abandon our lovers. Nor choose between flavors of irony. Cardamom. Cashmere. Calendula.

· · ·


You say, “My man wears velour. My woman dispenses spindle-shaped mandates that are warm to the touch.”

Pixels, but not without underwater grasses. Accumulation, but not without tethered protagonists.

· · ·


Teeth and gums are uncomfortable without saliva.

I’ll climb up vines to reach you. I’ll straddle taut ridges and place beans in a jar in order that strangers may calculate. I’ll remember the first time we met, and recall the faces of strangers in the room.

I’ll make you feel wanted.