The Book of Things

Obscene to walk through the world with eyes
open. With feet soles spread in the naked clover.
A moment ago, outside, the black butterfly
folded his wings and slid his whole body
into the speckled throat of the tiger lily.
Now, the wooden spoons, face up, huddle together
in the metal pitcher beside the sink.
Who will comfort the millions carrying their loads?
The leanto of the wood cutting board
propped against the wall, behind the toaster.
The giant mason jar, half-filled with red lentils.
Each thing is a sentence, a subject and verb,
the event of itself, perishing in ever more slivered
ecstasy. On the counter, a six-pack of Guinness.
The bananas discovering, one spot at a time,
the well of darkness that waits for them.
Or: What cool river will smooth the foreheads
and families of the disappeared? What museum
will house the final poses of those who died
in the streets of Nanking and Nagasaki?
The colander turned upside down in the dish rack.
The tea kettle steaming, but still silent.
It is obscene to walk through the world
with eyes open. And now I have picked the blackberries
and shaken the cream, to eat with this woman,
her long back lined with light gold-black hairs,
the bell of her secret cry still alive inside me,
though it is another, whom I cannot go to, that I love.

*

Sam Taylor is the author of Body of the World (Ausable/Copper Canyon) and the forthcoming collection, Nude Descending an Empire (Pitt Poetry Series, 2014), which develops the lyrical voice of a citizen-poet engaged with history, politics, and our contemporary moment.  He is an Assistant Professor in the MFA program at Wichita State University.  You can read more of his work on the web at www.samtaylor.us.

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