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Fall 2017

Nature Study

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The stomach of consciousness needs to fill itself.
Does the bird hop or walk? And when it lands
Does it lean back and spread its wings to slow
Or does it dive head first and swoop? The veins
Of the leaf: do they radiate from a center
Like fingers from a hand? Or do they branch
Out from a line like tree limbs from a trunk?
What will it matter, after our monkey-mind
Inhabiting to ingest has penetrated
And entered all the fissures of the world?
As when the sea star embraces a clam or a mussel:
The pentagram of suckers pulls for an hour
To create a hairline cleft and then it vomits
Its own insides, and the intelligent stomach
Oozes blind and purposeful into the host.

—Robert Pinsky

Robert Pinsky's recent book of poems, At the Foundling Hospital, was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award.

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