Liar! yelled God. But Geppetto was the kind of father
who liked to knock things into place. First
was a grin on his terrible face (he held it there
with nails, he held it there with resolution).
The second was Mr. Bones, that loose-
hinged, cartilage-jawed Whatsit.
Rubbing him raw from inside his loose death.
(He took out his ball peen Forever and ran himself up
a boy.) Which was also the third thing, the boy,
wailing like a ghost in the wailing season.
Stop! begged Geppetto. But the boy
had set himself off like a car alarm
beneath the flight paths of magnetic geese.
Ah, my son, my son! God had Geppetto by the neck
and was shaking him out
by the folds of his argument.
The fourth thing was lies, the fifth what lies
half-buried. Some damn thigh bone
of a bleached raggedy story. The sort of thing
that fathers whistle up, spitting in their palms
and knocking on wood. The last thing and the one after that,
Which is the difference between pain,
and pain without explanation. A limp creature
jerking between two crossed sticks.
They were trying to quicken the Almost-Boy,
God in his lab coat and Geppetto in his wings.
But he kept getting tangled in the mesh
of cat flaps and cradles and strings.
The distance pain travels to be grounded in flesh.