[previous] [next] [more by this author] [home]
The Life of Each Seed
Patricia Goedicke

Dries up in the desert, hisses around our heads
as it joins all the rest; dust sifts through our fingers
in Algerian cities, white buildings full of people
speaking French, sand sweeping into the corners. . . .
As withered pomegranates pile up in the market
in knobbed lumps, each embryo's sealed in its own jelly
so tight sometimes the questing tongue,
the puckered lips get tired
separating out each seed, in the living room's invented spaces,
The Silver Screen, National Geographic,
the latest report from N.O.W. on the coffee table
with bacteria-like stars, rice grains stuck to the walls,
discrete bodies that loom through the skin of the tent. . . .

As she opens to him, as he goes into her,
lizards splay themselves in the weeds
next to the sidewalk, even in North America's backyards,
and farther South, in patios
with broken bottles, geraniums,
and pigs rooting, television antennae like steeples
in mountain villages stuck straight up
into the sluiceways, bands of featureless babble
that wash overhead, the offscourings of objects
that never help, that rot in the mouths of nomads
and movie stars alike, as each extra in the crowd scene
imagines he/she is the one true fish
made to be multiplied, in his/her hand-me-down
never-to-be-equaled image, each snowflake or pearl
only to be reproduced, Yes, Yes, alike
but somehow different, can't you tell
the mother says, of her own
identical twins, Buy Now, Believe
sometimes there really are miracles, tall powerful
human beings who stand out, who tower over the city
like beacons, but it never lasts. Next day, in the heat,
the sweat of togetherness fouls everything with the stink
of anonymous increase: as pride teeters before the fall
in every subway, in broken sentences of stripped
violently-torn syntax kids hurl themselves against the walls
like slaughtered prisoners, the lives they leave behind them
in great scarlet letters of ragged day-glo bleeding
the faceless graffiti of No, No. . . .

[previous] [next] [more by this author] [home]