The Mole

By Christian Wiman b. 1966 Christian Wiman
After love
discovers it,
the little burn
or birthmark
in an odd spot
he can neither see
nor reach; after
the internist's
downturned mouth,
specialists leaning
over him like
diviners, machines
reading his billion
cells; after
the onslaught
of insight, cures
crawling through him
like infestations,
so many surgeries
a wrong move
leaves him leaking
like overripe fruit;
after the mountain
aster and ice
wine, Michigan
football, Canes
Venatici and
the Four North
Fracture Zone
shrink to a room
where voices grow
hushed as if
at some holy
place, and even
in the kindest
eye there lurks
the eternity
to which he's been
commended; after
speech, touch,
even the instinct
to eat are gone,
and he has become
nothing but
a collection of quiet
tics and twitches
as if something
wanted out
of his riddled
bones, the carious
maze of his brain;
as the last day
glaciers into his room,
glass and chrome
so infinites-
imally facet-
ed it seems
he lives inside
a diamond, he breaks
into a wide
smile, as if joy
were the animal
in him, blind,
scrabbling, earth-
covered creature
tunneling
up from God
knows where to stand
upright, feasting
on distances, gazing
dead into the sun.

Christian Wiman, "The Mole" from Every Riven Thing. Copyright © 2011 by Christian Wiman.  Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Source: Every Riven Thing (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010)

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Poet Christian Wiman b. 1966

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Health & Illness

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

Poet, translator, editor, and essayist Christian Wiman was raised in West Texas and earned a BA at Washington and Lee University. He received an honorary doctorate from North Central College.
 
Making use of—and at times gently disassembling—musical and metrical structures, Wiman often explores themes of spiritual faith and doubt in his spare, precise poems. Praising Wiman’s “ear for silence” in a review of Every Riven Thing for . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Health & Illness

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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