Online Exclusive

10.15.13
Stranded at Alpha
A man does alpha
exercises on his wolves

Tall as deer 
glacial eyes

The fences crackle 

On this mountain he grows
marijuana and wolves

Like everyone else up here you say 
he is mere receiver 

for satellites you pick like shells 
from the night sky’s shores

to listen down the long winding futures

You only mention him 
because in this exercise he has created

he is alpha 


 




If we could arrive where we are I think 
the grid of twine fastened to stakes and 
the vines’ crazing would clarify 

afternoon’s aslant 
like a damper pedal slowly lifted.

But strung from end to end of the valley below us 
the cables’ dominants buzz— 

power without face, mere
force without difficulty

We stare only 
at two lights, you say: fire and screens

You touch and touch a screen 


 




Smell of ash in the stove it is morning
We wake on a firebreak road
no fire climbs to

You touch 
the fine hairs of the apricots
where cold sunlight touches

They are a little beyond even
where sunlight touches

Go ahead call out to them you say

They will not let you in 


 




The workmen cut down the daffodils
lighting the doorway of your shack

Inconsolable, you left your love back there 
to tell me another woman 

wants to fly you to Trieste, Odessa, anywhere
perhaps one day pay for your cryonics

But for years you’ve disciplined your love’s 
art; without you 

she might have babies, write 
about babies, mere 
human babies. 

A dog has followed us three days
to this promontory; you let it lick your hand, 
compassionate only 

to those forbidden
from remaking the world in their image. 


 




Camera batteries in dust
high above Silicon Valley 

it’s all captured
it won’t get away

I pick up a fragment of clay, ancient-
seeming, mechanically
stamped: “Bio …”

We’ll escape you think
the wedding of life and death
just as the last amphorae are emptied

You are writing a novel 
about a man on a mountain 
who suspects everyone below is dead

He engineers children 
with his DNA, instructs them 
to long to resurrect him someday …

I go off alone,
unable, even, to find my way back 

to that sunrise grotto 
where a cat flicks a mosquito from its ear 

in my journal. 

Brandon Krieg is the author of Invasives (New Rivers Press) and Source to Mouth (New Michigan Press) and a founding editor of The Winter Anthology.