American Armadillo

The armadillo had seen enough
He sat on the bank and regarded the water

Almost blind
he remembered green
and the color right beneath green
and that memory made the load of anguish lift off
through the tips of his ears

And as he pondered the loveliness of pebbles
he found himself ambling
toward the water
submerging the way one falls
asleep

Eight expanding ripples
then the calm
No armadillo
only his exhale rising to the surface
in bouquets of dimes

Inverted
he sank farther into the stillness
that squeezed his scraped armor

He forgot directions
the pull of the earth
unsure what it was he came down here for

Letting go of sunlight
and the lake’s makeshift silver
the eyes in his tapered head began to harden
until they pierced the growing darkness
like the pupil-free gaze
of an abolished god

***

Peter Krumbach lives and writes in Southern California. His new collection Degrees of Romance, the winner of the 2022 Antivenom Poetry Award, will be published by Elixir Press in 2023. Most recent work is forthcoming from Alaska Quarterly Review, Denver Quarterly, Washington Square Review and X-R-A-Y.

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