most recent book, Abundance
, won the 2007 Cider Press Book Editors’ Award.
Her poems have appeared recently in 5 AM
, and The Iowa Review
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What Binds the Slime Mold Cells
The six legs of the fruitfly unfold
from genes that made my own
torso, fingers, toes—one ancestry.
The hunger that moves the foraging
single cells of slime mold
toward each other
to become one body rising out of soil,
slug that travels, roots, fruits, dies,
its spores an end to immortality—
what binds the slime mold cells binds me.
My ears that hear the seagull’s cry,
the wash of waves, footsteps in the grass,
miss the long low rumble of elephant calls,
the high insect-seeking chirp of bats—
echos making object of the world we find
through eye. Something enters and changes us,
and we find the world
through which it comes as variously
as our need and history dictate,
each shaped by each.
At Churchill College dinner—long white table cloth,
three wines—my seatmate tells me he’s worked out
that it might have happened all at once.
A handful of molecules, water and rock,
and all’s begun—the strands that replicate
themselves, their mirror opposites,
the host of protein products—once,
in a lucky time and place, and life—our life—
came tumbling forth, accumulating
And that improbable common capsule
the slime mold slug becomes,
rooted on a slender stalk,
ripened spores cast out
for another chance at life—we too
in our common skin of atmosphere
move toward each other,
invent the intricate moves
that could make one body, delicate balance
of part for whole.
Each inner world reports the outer one
in shifting play of chemistry—
what draws us forward in delight or need—
geese following and trading leads
down the magnetic flare of sky,
elephant caressing her mother’s skull,
what rises in the apple tree,
the fruitfly feeding on the apple,
the fruitfly's memory of the tree—
what works in them, at work in me.