Poem | On Nature

And the puzzles surrounding the cosmological constant,
spacetime imploded into existence. Ten to fifty years
between asbestos breathed and mesothelioma
discovered, a rare form of cancer in the lungs
or heart, or, if in the stomach, spreading
quickly to the liver or spleen. Uploaded
onto one of a half-a-billion or so blogs: “The human
imagination? A relatively paltry thing, a sub-product,
merely, of the neural activity of a species
of terrestrial primate”; and in another, that other
dimension, the Hudson River, black and still,
the day about to open at the Narrows’ edge.
Light on a mountain ash bough, a fresh chill’s
blue sensation felt in the eyes. One week buds, then
the temperature’s up and the landscape turns yellow,
in a few days the wind scratches the blossoms,
in a few weeks the sun scorches the leaves…

I, too, see God adumbrations, I, too, write
a book on love. Who, here, appears, to touch the skin.
Hundreds of thousands of square miles of lost
Arctic sea ice, bits of bones on killing grounds,
electromagnetic air. Atrocious and bottomless
states of mind, natural as air...

Published in the October 24, 2014 issue: 
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Lawrence Joseph is the author of five books of poems, most recently Into It and Codes, Precepts, Biases, and Taboos: Poems 1973-1993 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) His sixth book of poems, So Where Are We? will be published by FSG in 2017. He is also written two books of prose, Lawyerland (FSG) and The Game Changed: Essays and Other Prose (University of Michigan Press). He is Tinnelly Professor of Law at St. John’s University School of Law and lives in New York City.

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