Savage Pageant: Jungleland Had Many Names

And now we are carving mythology out

of unremembered time. The recurrent
dream about Jungleland isn’t about

tigers or Mabel or a roster of poorly
behaving men. We know memory,

like a trapped lion, must snack on
dry sandwiches to survive.

It would be nice to leave it alone,
the small lion to its tidy sandwich,

but here is the affliction

from stories better left unsaid:

the spectacle in the archive of harm,

the body left untouched for four hours,

of Flint and the shootings that no
longer receive another name.

We call a hundred mouths laughing
an epidemic.

We call a thousand killing bodies
a circumstance.

We are so far away

from it all, aren’t we?

The plastic jungle
and the crass crate.

Yet here we sit like the
mannequins of young schoolgirls

imagining something out of thin air

our tongues curling around no-nation—

no sudden movements to call our own.