is recipient of the 2010 Helen Howe Poetry Prize from Appalachia.
Her work has appeared recently in Alaska Quarterly Review
, Prairie Schooner
, and Qarrtsiluni
Her book The Eelgrass Meadow
was recently published by Tebot Bach Press.
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Mushroom Bodies of the Cockroach Brain
What symmetric arabesques of fiber, what great bursts
of branching and looping back make up the pair of packed
neural paths that bloom in the ten-thousand-celled brain
of the cockroach, center of entry for every sense,
constructor of worlds, instant by instant feeding the past
into what comes next—they curve under the microscope,
graceful, complex, tuned to flicker of light, pattern,
and scent, maker of memory for place and event—
a kitchen corner missed by the broom, a box warm enough
to incubate eggs, that nasty hint of catnip in the cupboard.
This piece of brain could be our own hippocampus,
pulling in daily life, integrating the world, noticing novelty;
and what, then, separates us from the cockroach?
Smash it! the reader shouts; but no, already it’s skittered
out of the light, speed and survival instincts honed in all of us,
imagination and language only johnny-come-latelies.