Nothing that she could do could so much as
scratch the green-tinted glass. Thus does she
wait at the long table, laid with jellied cuts of
plesiosaur from the final banquet, beside her
sole companion, a nonliving mechanical lion.
Great waves spill over the retaining wall and
flood the outer sector with giant walking sea
stars that tear the caged monkeys to bits and
consume them, leaving occult formations of
slime and bones through the zoological park.
The anger that blazes brightly on the surface
of the woman’s soul has its origin in the fact
that she, a laboratory-raised body double for
a person produced by natural birth, has only
synthetic memories and is wholly disposable.
But what truly makes her wish that the ships
fell to earth and burned is that her original is,
through her eyes, viewing every event taking
place on the damnable isle, until the brilliant
flash must consume it at the appointed hour.
The wild easterly winds tear the acrid, yellow
foam from the waves and cast it high against
the unblemished windows of this tower with
its twenty-six identical, inescapable floors, as
the stench of rotting seaweed floods the hall.
Gregory Kimbrell is the author of The Primitive Observatory (Southern Illinois University Press, 2016), winner of the 2014 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. His poems have appeared in Blackbird, The Laurel Review, and the Abaculi Project. He is the events and programs coordinator for Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries. A devotee of Japanese avant-garde theater and dance, he hopes someday to produce a play in the style of Shūji Terayama. In his vivid nightly dreams, he travels time and space and has adventures with celebrities such as technopop group Perfume and film stars Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann.