Because the history of the world can be read from the teeth of the dead

with mass spectrometry and said to be the story of cheese. Because

cheese means beasts working for us in production of commodity.

Means herds being made to turn meadows into milk, then made to last

when the meadow is gone. Mass spectrometry measures these histories

chattering in the dirt. What’s the news? Colonization of a landmass?

But that’s old news. How the old forests wished while falling

prey to herdsmen’s demand for grasslands grand as the Sargasso

that I were describing mere invention. I will not invent.

They whose history became the history of the world

were called Yamnaya before they were called Europeans

and I invented this new textual body for them to enter.

Fig. 1: Wilkins, et al. Dairying enabled
           Early Bronze Age Yamnaya steppe
           expansions. Nature, 2021.

The language of invention is the language of patents, whose common

denominator is the phrase: “in the preferred embodiment.” It informs

that form is patented, without limiting the body. As when stomach’s

sac is taken from the body and held like a bookbag, how natural

an invention to pour in milk, which, perhaps, then began its foray

into form. To keep a freedom for uprooting oneself and adopting

a new embodiment and haven’t I done this too? I do not mean

the patents of which I hold ownership. (The colloquial term for this

is to be on a patent, as if it were a boat taking me far from a shore.)

I do not desire to invent. If I do not invent, I will not incline to a preferred

embodiment. I will not incline. There will be a stillness. I see inherited dreams

that occupy some stratum in me, the streambeds I inherited through tongue

and occupancy. What are these dreams? Their infectious beauty?

Fig. 2: Kraft, J.L. Process of sterilizing cheese
          and an improved product produced
          by such process. Patent US8676416A.

Parmesan in four forms (powdered, shredded, flaked, full), mozzarella,

camembert, yellow tile of cheddar, feta, brie, cool inside the deli,

names, patented, catalogued, enforced through the Standards of Identity

for Cheese, from cyse (West Saxon), from cese (Anglian), from caseus (Latin),

from the proto-Indo-European root *kwat-, see cacio, see queso,

which I often consume, relish in my mouth the way a boy relishes

the steering wheel in his hands while propped in his father’s driver’s seat,

or would relish should he be proper boy, proto-man, Monterey jack,

muenster, not monster at all for desiring ownership, firmness, appetite

and where do they come from, these appetites? Is that the right

question? Or is it: in what forms do they live inside me now?

I learned as young as I could to cut myself from roots, and float

with hands repeating that motion, a cut weeping in its sleep.

Fig. 3: Fromage (French, “cheese”), formaticum
       (Medieval Latin, “made in a form”), forma
       (Latin, “form”), unknown origin.

Says the herdsman to the horizon: You are my everything. So says

the prince on his fairytale quest, murmurs it to his quarry bride. He ties

his horse to a tree, and saunters into a salon. Hold them up he says.

Struts in as if this land and that land could be lassoed, because that

is what he does best with his lasso, frontier lad, and this land might

as well be virgin. It wasn’t. See how he gets off his horse, milks

his mare, and even as the white drops moisten his cheek, bends over

the horizon, her gently sleeping lips unaware, this is what is called

romance, epic, history, certainly comedy when he leaves milk over

her coverlet. Herdsman, husband, cowboy. I’ve always loved

the American twang to cow-boy, the thrill when you lassoed me.

We make love, watch many beautiful sunsets at home.

Fig. 4:  The window view. Notice the passing clouds,
which lie within this airspace, which therefore
are ours too.

Angelo Mao is a biomedical scientist. His first book of poems is Abattoir (Burnside Review Press, 2021). His poetry and reviews have appeared in Poetry, Georgia Review, Lana Turner, and elsewhere. He is also a poetry editor for DIALOGIST.