We worked for food and shelter
and then bought the arts and better cars,
bigger houses, smarter children
who couldn’t really learn to read and write.
It was too hard. The arts escaped
to a different heaven to get rid of us.
We misunderstood food and shelter,
flies crawling on a window,
fluttering up and down,
seeing the outside beyond reach
because of the invention of glass
that couldn’t be undone. We lived
within the outside for two million years
and now it’s mostly photos.
We chose wallpaper and paint over leaves
and rivers. In our dream of safety
we decided not to know the world.
—from “Modern Times” by Jim Harrison