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Animals

Reality Marble

One day, while cutting the grass outside Lustrik Corp., Joey came across a garter snake. At Birds Birds Birds they were $11.99 each, but here was one for free, unscathed by lawn-mower blades, slithering right over the boy’s foot. It was the biggest he’d ever seen, and the first brown one.

Forsythia

At the cabin in Snug Hollow near McSwain Branch creek, just spring, all the animals are out, and my beloved and I are lying in bed in a soft silence.

Photograph by Tom Haines

Dry Days

Great Plains. One man grabs a calf’s hind leg and lifts. Another seizes a front leg and heaves, flipping as easily as possible the two-hundred-pound animal. Then each man pulls hard to keep it still.

Earth in the Balance

Nature, we learn, seeks to establish and maintain equilibrium. According to a study published late last year in Nature, Earth did just that, though not by design. It just so happens that the year 2020 marked the point at which anthropogenic mass (the mass of manmade inanimate objects) equaled Earth’s total biomass (the total mass of all living taxa, including the mass of humans and our livestock).

<i>Tiger King</i>. Directed by Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin. Netflix, 2020. 8 episodes

The Art of Watching

Early in January, a few days into the New Year, I sat with four students on the ninth floor of a Twenty-Third Street Manhattan building. I have two dominant memories of our week together: The first is of the forbearance with which they withstood my raging head cold; the places they found to look while I filled tissue after tissue, stuffing various pills, sprays, and lozenges into my face, inflicting on them a six-day wrath that should have been mine alone. Grumpy and overmedicated, midweek I told a colleague, because she asked, that I felt like a jungle cat was sitting on my face.

Mothers

March 2, 2020

Women used to wean their babies
By painting their breasts black.
Hurricane clouds are black.
The Earth is weaning us.

The Garden

Tear along the perforation and unfold. Hold a light source up to the backside of the underwater scene to reveal creatures hiding in the depths. 

Goat


Capricorn, hair, bray, and hoof, eater of tin, biter,
bitter, sister, wilder than tame, not quite
gamey as deer, lower cousin to the caribou,
giving rise to tears and the satyr.

State

your name for purposes of identification

how can I when it’s failed

better a border made of water

harder to cross

each seed is different

like each tongue

how many heads

was the right question to ask

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