Thinking About the Octopus
—after the film The Octopus Teacher
I’m thinking about how she opens every one of her three hearts,
and all the brain cells in her eight arms,
Types of Animals
some by branching by bivalve by colony by loping by leaping
some disguised in waiting in watching by blending in motion
some in color in welcome whose wealth was seductions
Some saw a raven with ruptured feathers.
Some smelled the homeless millions pressed
inside a drop of blood. Some felt dark planets
How to Make a No-Sew Coronavirus Mask From a Poem
- After you’ve read this poem, place it
on your kitchen table
The Galapagos Tortoise
Here’s a video of me reading my poem “The Galapagos Tortoise,” which was published in the 2020 issue of RHINO. I made the video in response to a call from RHINO: they had to cancel their release party because of the coronavirus and asked contributors to participate in a virtual launch. I’m joined by one of the giant tortoises from the island of St. Croix.
Mother, I’m here with your painted copy of a Cezanne still life
that hangs over the dry sink you bought
with my father years before
I was born.
Every Second Must be the Duration of Something
Begin with light slathering the eel grass
and the horizon, a wide what-if.
Coming Upon a Young Screech Owl
I’d found a young screech owl on the sidewalk a block from my house, its talons sunk, in death, in the nape of a rabbit kit.
This summer I took part in “Art on the Trails: Unexpected Gestures” at the Beals Preserve in Southborough, MA. Poets were invited to respond to one or more sculptures installed along the trail that meanders through the preserve’s woods, meadows, and pond. My poem “Epoch” was one of two to receive an honorable mention. When I first glimpsed Robert Shanahan’s powerful sculpture “Entelodant” in the woods, adrenalin surged through my body along with the impulse to run from what looked like a giant, very lifelike warthog (on closer examination, artfully made from reeds and brush)! (Entelodant went extinct 65 million years ago.)
The earth collects on all its debts
Beast, with your bronzed fur of reeds and twigs,
your stone teeth, your hooves, stone-cloven,
the stripe of sumac threaded through
your flank. Whorl of your woven ear.
The snarl of you, moving through
the gape of your snout. Bristling
comma of tail where the spider has knit its web.
Entelodont, you are the dark other who makes
the small mammal in me shudder.
You, swept through the Oligocene’s long wake,
peering back, late and strange. We, too,
wear ourselves thin.
When we are as you have become,
who will know us, who will call us
by the hard-washed light of our name?