Juliana Spahr (March 22) – the opening poem of “Nuclear”:
we are born to be awake not to be asleep
things that grow and unfold are things that lead
the art of shape—the mass and void
the glow of radiation passing through liquid
the stream of gamma rays
random bursts of bubbles
a man toiled in rocky soil
a man built a house
a man cured another by means of a remedy
all the time nature was changing certain elements into others
the chain of names begins
Lucretius Epicurus Leucippus Democritus
as the atom splits
a man creates out of dust
a woman grows to give
a body that cannot be discerned
our crude eyesight is exposed
things one cannot see have become things that hurt
no longer feeling, wisdom, art
the visual lies
what lies behind it burns
the littlest world of woman now contains atom
a light that illuminates us more than the sun and the moon
Meira Cook (March 28) – “Adam Father”
He wakes up naked and drunk as a bear
on sun-fermented garbage.
Hungover and queasy and riled up by bees.
Nothing going well today, he moans,
life being short and the craft, ah, long.
Still, might as well take a stab at it,
lording it over misrule and tending the shame
that transforms a garden into Genesis.
So there he goes, stalking through the world
on his back legs, pelting down half-eaten words
from a great height.
Whatever he touches shrieks and bellows or writhes
like the alphabet.
A is for Crocodile, he croaks,
dashing through the Everglades. See you later!
And B is for the Wasp that stings him and C —
C is for the wide blue Ocean
in which he nearly drowns.
But nothing can drown him, our Adam
whose resolution is steadfast
and breezy at last, and buoyant
as a stone boat.