There is nothing more annoying
than other people, so he withdraws to the woods.
Just as a robin builds a nest, twig by twig,
with tufts of grass, he picks up sticks and stones,
some found scraps of tar paper and sheet metal,
and slaps together a Kaczynski-type cabin.

Battling boredom from dawn to dusk,
speaking only to himself or birds, trees,
and a curious deer, he wanders aimlessly,
roaming up and down hills, kicking leaves
and crunching naked branches.
He stumbles into swamps and wrestles
with cascading rocks falling off a precipice.

Not knowing what to do with himself,
he washes his hands over and over again
whenever he finds a pool of limpid water.

He doodles pornographic figures,
and keeps looking at his watch,
worried he might be late for some important date.
Picking at his pimples, he flips through books
and magazines, piling them in a heap
as if he was preparing to immolate himself
on a funeral pyre.

Lying in a field, he looks up at passing clouds,
convinced Osama bin Laden is scowling at him.

With no radio or TV, he counts horseflies
buzzing about the crack of a smudged window.
Nothing can appease his wrath of indifference.
He used to bite his nails, but now can’t resist
chewing on his hands.

With no place to go and nothing to do,
time seems to have ceased.
He flops and flounders like a fish out of water.

To calm his agitation, he tries painting a poplar tree,
but drips of paint reveal a secret code of letters
and numbers he can’t quite make out. The chaos
gets under his skin: “Is this all there is?

Maybe the world is coming to an end.”

Lying in bed, sucking his thumb,
he listens to the whisper of leaves,
hearing the voice of his mother singing him to sleep.
Rocking back and forth, he chants: “Mommy and I are one.”