There are no traces, at the edge of deep,
Of chocolate or lilacs, of deathcaps
Or bicycles, of god or schizophrenia,
Of socialist theatre or the kakapo. Nor
Is there evidence at all for the time
Your grandmother settled you, a bairn,
On her bony old knee and told you how
Her father lined his family up, out by the gable
And cracked a horsewhip, lashed them open—
Daughters, wife and sons—because the Tans
Had smoked his brothers from their cave
And shot them in their heads, and they but lads.
There is no indication whatsoever here
That Brundle discovered insect politics;
That Hedy Lamarr invented Wi-Fi;
That someone inconnu first typed Fin.
There are no inklings from six billion k
Of the day you were sent with a girl
To deliver a bucket of milk to a man
In a cottage a mile away, and you barely five.
It took the pair of you to carry the pail.
On the way you saw beyond your world:
The garments of travelling people,
Draped on a dry-stone wall to bake.
Here there is no argument for mormons
Or Marylin Monroe, or Mitochondrial Eve,
Or Mao, or Mary or Moses or midichlorians.
No sign of Martin Luther King or Eminem.
Neither is there any hint of her out here:
The student actor who—after you sat down
From speaking in public that very first time—
reached from behind you with two
Lucky Strikes, both alight. She landed them
Between your lips and began
Your beautiful friendship
With toasted tobacco, and loss.
No evidence of all we are or anything we’ve done—
Not until you know what it was for,
This flower that sent the misprint planet home,
The period in every question mark.