Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Naturalist

street art (detail) colonia del sacramento, uraguay

The Naturalist
by Angela Consolo Mankiewicz

                                    breaks a twig off a tree living in a brick-
                                    lined plot on a city street.  She slaps
                                    the twig across a brownstone's iron gate,
                                    absorbs the rumble back to bone.

                                    She hears birdsongs among taxi horns, adds
                                    a grunt, a hum, silence; she spots a cat
                                    on a stoop, pets it in passing; she swerves
                                    around dog feces, jumps a grating; she
                                    eyes the sky, like a Sybil ...

                                                            To burst, rot, rust, all in its turn,
                                                            by overripening or contrivance, back to
                                                            animal, mineral, vegetable.  Ancient game.
                                                            All the same.  Innocence doesn't
                                                            matter.  Ignorance doesn't matter.  Greed
                                                            doesn't matter.  Survive
                                                            matters, measured by unattended clocks.
                                                            Not meant, not mean
                                                            just are, here

                                    ... interpreting signs
                                    tickling arm hairs, scraping the edge of a nail.
                                    And with cat, gate, feces, twig,
                                    she dies a little
                                    in the natural order of things,
                                    ikon of the unsponsored,
                                    as natural as things get.

                                    ~ first published in Lynx Eye