TERTIUM QUID (THIS THIRD THING)
by Tucker Lieberman
It moves like a deer's reflection on a pond, without
you knowing what it is, that thing
you half-believe in:
tall and thin, it slips into the
kitchen to hover around the coffeemaker.
Mostly silent, built of echoes,
fed on water, with intimations
of ghosts and kittens.
It is a dinosaur with feathers,
you see that now,
and eater of vegetables,
one sharp tooth near its nostril,
a tooth with which it exited its own egg,
an idea that it might raid other nests.
You thought to kick it,
but it hasn't murdered you yet,
so return the favor.
Your boot would only weakly
copy the beast's cracking of the ordered spheres.
A tertium quid, the beast was,
before number were invented.
If it does not belong here, it will pass,
so part your waters,
let it move without incident.
You are always something other, but your face
doesn't have to freeze this way.
Hatch. Evolve. Brew coffee. Speak.
ALGORITHM OF WANT
by Tucker Lieberman
Rabbit, you must have conversed with the wolf,
since now you know what you need to do.
But you have to know what you want others to do,
to ready them to put you down
after you convince them to pick you up.
It cannot mean something to you all the time, the wanting,
built as a system to permanize itself,
sometimes more algorithm than fire.
The system quakes,
and the wanting cannot even be what it was.
Caterpillar, you will change,
you will spin a cocoon,
like a flash, enter sky,
vanish without shouting,
as night becomes day becomes night.
What are you here to do?
Acorn, you have a purpose,
small and fluttering sky debris,
now land, now grow,
change as you will,
as you were,
as you cannot stay.
Tucker Lieberman is the author of Painting Dragons and Bad Fire. His poems have recently appeared in Esthetic Apostle, The Conclusion, Déraciné, Neologism, and Defenestration; his photography in Paper Trains, Crack the Spine, Marias at Sampaguitas, Dodging the Rain, Royal Rose, and Barren; his art in Burning House; and his fiction in Owl Canyon’s No Bars and a Dead Battery (2018) and Elly Blue's The Great Trans-Universal Bike Ride (forthcoming, 2021). You can hear him on Episode 26 of the 'Stories We Tell Our Robots' podcast. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, he lives in Bogotá, Colombia. www.tuckerlieberman.com Twitter: @tuckerlieberman