Philip Rosenthal  © 2009 All Rights Reserved

The Collecting

Sister keeps collecting dead things. Bees and rag-winged dragonflies. A mouse frozen, teeth bared like a prize. A doctored crow, butterflied open to chicken. She pleats them up in her apron and keeps walking. Why do they find her at the last, the dead sparrows, the muskrats and prairie dogs, the red squirrels, the spent tatty-sail moths. Then yesterday, a spatuletail? Itís a long way from here to Peru, she thought, carrying him home to snap small portraits, make a cast of wing, snug chin feathers into an embroidery circle, bury him primly in a box of gingerbread his strange tail tucked so. It is the history of the forest, she said, of ways we get lost; I would like to say how it all happened; I would like to put it right.





The wind is the true breath; the horizon, the best line.
Oh, god, how did we get here?
Let us in to where you make things,
to the clearing. We are trying, but it is hard to coax our way out
from the yeasty mouth of the thicket,
this embarrassment of crusts.

We find a trail:

wort :: word
wald :: wood
weld :: world
wunde :: wound
warte :: wait

We listen and wait
        to grow wild again.
We see the field
is not in the word
it is in the world.

So, we walk deeper
into the paint of night.


Arlene Kim
Copyright © 2009  

Arlene Kim recently received an MFA in poetry from the University of Minnesota where her work won a Gesell Award and the Academy of American Poetsí James Wright Prize. She currently lives, works, and writes in Seattle, WA. Her first collection of poems is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions

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