Time on Earth



July 31, 2015


New to country stars, you try

to identify the constellations.

Cassiopeia, Andromeda


You forget their stories.

But on warming nights you see them

& your throat fills with hymns,


some ancestral body’s holdfast tunes

to which your words are also blurred or blurring.



You read about Physologus,

Greek cosmologist; mythic namer of the universe.

You borrow Amy’s Audubon


& wander trying to match

shoots in mulch

to names. Embryonic skunk cabbage,



maple spangling the forest air—

You dream an orrery of leaves and bones.


You say: tow-hee and cali-cut,

and walk repeating names you’ve gathered

just to feel their pleasure on your tongue.


You call earthstar, clubmoss, and vibernum.



Beyond this, the constellated light-map.

Oil-drums, tankers, spirochetes,


terrorists, radios, specimens,

ice cream, methamphetamine,


pandemics, global economic crisis.

Then you burn the paper, watch its turquoise flame.


This is not always, but you think


            This is my time on earth.


Today a thumb-sized frog

clambered up the screen.



shaking, skin grappling


all elements, a scrambling borderland,

a moving porous country.


Watching, you forget to feel alone.

Delightedly, you call


A frog! A frog! out to the rustling woods.

And that was all.  O wriggler.


With a sudden hope you also

sing your own springtime song. 

Source: http://www.thecommononline.org/time-earth