Friday Night Open Studio in SoWa by Liam Day
Do armadillos shed or live in trees?
The short answers are no, their armor
is bone and they burrow, not climb,
but the knowledge comes with a sell-by date,
which means, by extrapolation, it was
made, assembled, brewed or caught
and frozen in the not too distant past,
which in itself means it contains
very little of what we call philosophy.
So, for the moment, let’s pretend they might.
What then, if armadillos shed,
would that entail and what would be
the consequences, running as they would
like water off pitched pavement?
To wit: what are the armadillo’s predators,
how long does it take to grow new exoskeleton
and where, exposed for that length of time,
would it hide from the animals that hunt it?
Answers to ancillary questions are like
membranes that protect elements,
which, in turn, become isotopes
with every electron they attract.
In due course they decompose
and we can only hope their half-lives
are longer than the life-expectancy of
small, well-to-do European nations.
Neighbors enlist national interest groups
to resist storing radioactive material
near their kids, and though I can’t
blame them, they’d be more accommodating
if they were looking at what I was:
a thick tree with heavily veined bark,
gnarled limbs and, hanging from it,
beards of moss and husks of hornets’ nests
that could, if we let them, be what
tree-climbing armadillos shed.
Liam Day is a graduate of the Bread Loaf School of English. He lives in Boston with his wife, Nicole. His work has appeared previously in Beginnings and Slow Trains.