~This poem originally appeared in CutBank (Summer 2009)
Here’s the word for an ant’s single leg.
I plucked it and breathed it.
I caught it beneath my gum line.
Here are some plants I grew by speaking to them.
Here are the aphids that happened when my mind wandered.
I was babbling; I’m sorry.
I said the sap would be as blood, as coveted.
The sap was as blood, the wet of it.
I set a few rules and broke them.
Some spiders can resurrect themselves.
Call it a miracle when I do that.
Call it a mitochondrion, I said.
Call it symbiosis.
Here’s how you’re my children.
Here’s how I made your lungs insufficient.
Here’s how I filled your lungs with bacteria.
I needed a place to put them.
I wanted you to have them.
I am in complete control of my dreams.
I let them be this way.
My dreams fall on cracks and grow.
There is excess to my mind and I throw it down the cracks.
Here’s a brown spot on an ovary.
Here’s the brown globe stumbling through autumn.
THE STORY BEHIND THE POEM
I sometimes find myself saying overblown things to my students like “poets are the gods of the little worlds they create.” And then I have to think about what the hell I was trying to say. Two ideas come to mind: first, that aesthetic creations cannot be fully understood, especially by their creators. And second, that to make something is to be responsible for it, and to have responsibilities toward it.
When I made this poem, I was trying to deal with the fact that someone very close to me had just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Faith can be a comfort to people in times like that, but I don’t have much faith – what faith I have is in poetry, and in people. I suppose when I wrote this poem I was thinking about how sad, how frustrating it would be, if you had made a world and then had to watch it fall apart. I think “Here” is my sympathetic lament for the moment when creation goes awry.
ABOUT DAN ROSENBERG
Dan Rosenberg’s first book, The Crushing Organ, won the 2011 American Poetry Journal Book Prize, and is forthcoming from Dream Horse Press. His poems have appeared recently in several magazines, including Pleiades, American Letters & Commentary, Subtropics, and Third Coast. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he is currently a co-editor at Transom and a Ph.D. student at UGA in Athens, GA.