This is the earth before
This is the persistent prehistoric
republic rising up along the wall,
escaping the rising groundwater trying
not to drown.
And in drought,
theirs are the hunters,
far from safety, groping
toward the still-moist sponge.
I marvel at their stubborn
the stillborn robin’s chick but
I will not applaud them.
Here they are,
their long queue busy
all the way to the stored
Christmas candy under the bed.
Here is a solitary soldier
looking too small to have a pulse.
He feels his way, he feels his way across
the lighted sink top, so sure and even more sure—
he is so continual with the searching,
molecule-tipped limbs that
I lift my hand
and can’t. I can’t let the brute
palm fall as the illumination of the kitchen
and the daylight progress under
his intricate shadow and he stays in
one place, groping
as beneath him crawls the world.
Michael Cadnum lives in Albany, California. His thirty-fifth book, the novel Seize the Storm, was published in 2012 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
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