Wednesday, April 6, 2011


By Elizabeth Austen

            "a brief and strange species"
                        —W.S. Merwin

The day begins in disarray
you ought you should you must you
must you must you must

the bees will not be stilled
what stitches mind
to body who
cues the unraveling
if it's true
we're infused
with something not found
in doorknob bird or bee
why am I confused
about all the important things
crows trampoline the power lines
from house to house they don't care
who runs the world
I gape at the sky
color of sunflower color of blood
the world is not
as I have believed it to be
I find no vantage point no long
view across even the surface
peristalsis propels the worm
into darkness electricity
animates the lamp
the leaf drinks
at the top of the tree
I understand none
of the beautiful things
the sparrow bathes in dirt
I don't know why
the birds do not ask themselves
or each other how are we
to live they do not
ask us to love them.

Austen, E. (2009). Skin Prayers. Seattle, WA: Crab Creek Review. 

Photo Credit: M.C. Escher, Dewdrop in a leaf, 1948.

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