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The Elephants

Theory of Falling Bodies

Tomas Moniz

broken circles

i used to hate round things my dad telling me make a fist     circular & solid     punching me to show how hard a closed hand could be     made us eggs sunday mornings fried & flat & round     he had circle tattoos on his hands that didn’t connect     a mistake he called them voice locked & tight

how to heal a broken manhow to close the loophow not to break

my lover laughed at my story     said the opposite was true     the world works in broken & imperfect circles     like arms hugging     a baby’s toothless smile     the way a dog spins around & around before sleeping the     word moon sung by nick drake     the soft & rounded edges of the adobe home

my grandmother was born inthe fat & plump sopapillasmy tia makes

one morning my son gathered blue eggs from our new chickens     we marvelled at their warmth     feathers still stuck to shell     cradling them in the half circles of our palms like precious things

father you are wrongeverything connectsnothing is broken

like leaving & returning

the best things are what we grow     baby to child     bud to flower     lover to partner     what fecundity we create by how we love     a friend planted a persimmon tree over her placenta she shared the fruits with me years later while our kids played     i taught my children to call the cuts & scrapes they acquired strawberries     bloodred & scabbedover     look what you grow     look how you heal     once i planted strawberries with my daughters to teach them some lesson long forgotten     this spring i found the plant again     tendril wild & weed covered     bearing small red berries     so angry sweet     so intensely alive     tasting like leaving & returning     like losing something & finding something else like     seasons & surviving & harvests & life     like life

theory of plate tectonics

the world was once whole body
but split apart     land mass
spreading open like
broken heart

at a crumbling hostel near montserrat spain
we discovered our double bed
was in fact two singles
pushed together
the seam between us like
a topography of subtle separation

the tragedy of plate tectonics
when bodies of land
touch the result is always
devastating     earth buckling     breaking
one side giving way

trying to cuddle at night across the divide
you whispered
perhaps i had understood
only half the theory

perhaps the violence of touching
was also beauty
an act of creation

just look you said
those ridges
those mountains

one wild body

supplication is a fig tree     mid february     branches arching upward     topped by a pointed green bud that aches to become leaf     it’s the gentle way you place baby between bodies sleep those desperately precious few hours during the darkest part of the evening thankful & warm     it’s being alone     learning what you can do for your one wild body supplication is remembering everything that brought you to where you are     slicing a fig open     purpled skin & pink fleshy insides     tasting the coldness of february during the dying heat of october

what chickens know

i remind myself after i drop the egg that everything i thought important before was wrong the chickens gather     madly peck the shell     eat the yolk     i know this is a bad thing a     habit i will have to break but     if i could turn     feed on what i made     i would     how to fault them     it is instinct

i drink coffee with tia ana     looking a decade older since last time     more tired     i used to interrupt her stories for details     taking notes to get it straight     now i just listen & laugh at tio piggy who may or may not have eaten a grasshopper     my father who may or may not have started that     fight i ask no questions trusting the body’s memory     it is always a risk

i find myself alone     grey berkeley mornings     no rush to get kids to school     no breakfast to make but coffee     & this ache that things used to have     such urgency such consequence     a spilled bowl of cereal     a forgotten chore     but none of that remains

i hope one day to nourish myself on the things i left behind     all this longing the body knows     it’s instinct     it’s bad habits     it’s stories that don’t always add up     it’s realizing they don’t have to

fathersong #1

son you made me cocky

the arrogance to carry you
at 21
strapped to my chest
ajax with shield
on public busses to & from

i imagined myself babyholding warrior

fearing that to the young
men & women
riding next to me i was
anomaly & sacrilege
& ugly

but truth is
nothing was more lovely than

your fat legs dangling
down & never shoed

when reproached by old ladies

holding plasticbags & gaptoothed smiles
to keep your feet warm

i nodded yes
but whispered to you

don’t worry

we run hot
& together
we are weapon

Tomas Moniz is editor of two anthologies on radical parenting Rad Dad & Rad Families: A Celebration. His novella Bellies and Buffalos is a tender, chaotic road trip about friendship, family and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. He’s the recipient of the SF Literary Arts Foundation's 2016 Mary Tanenbaum Award and founder of two literary reading series. He’s been making zines since the late nineties, and his most current zine tendril wild is available, but you have to write him a postcard: PO Box 3555, Berkeley CA 94703. He promises to write back.

This originally appeared on August 10, 2017