We are in the center of the city.

To the east there are men and women crying,

giving full voice to what almost eats them whole.

It’s so loud there, some of them are proud,

while others are crying more desperate than proud.

To the west there are the nonhuman animals

braying and neighing and saying all sorts of things.

In their own way and with their own diverse singing

they make the west more noble than any barnyard.

To the north is the dead zone, where only the things

live out their half-lives of uncomplaining decay.

Some human beings freeze up there, trying hard

to become a thing among things, poor things.

To the south lies the wilderness, lush with who knows what.

Its green is staggering, it reminds us with its dark glow

of unpossessable riches. It reminds us of soil, dark and dank,

of how it allows such abundance, such wonders to grow.

Pulled here and there,

a new model for the human

with arms and legs stretched out

like the dial of a compass to the four corners,

we are eccentric here in the center of the city.

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