Landscape Made From Egg and Sperm

By Sandra Simonds Sandra Simonds
Because Yosemite’s high altitude lake’s
             tadpoles wash up in
                         glow-in-the-dark condoms
             and every fish lip has a hook in it. Because
                             there’s bird shit
                             in the clouds. Things catch, get caught.
                                        Things are consumed.
                             There’s no looking
                                        back. And so you

                                        were conceived here, Ezekiel, fifty
                             feet off the Trail of
                        Broken Ankles. We wanted
                   to make sure no one
                              would see. The one hiker
                                         who saw looked away.
                                         Amino acids
                                         of the flushed cheek. Dirge
                                                   for eyeless things. I washed
                                                   my body in the river
                                                              and the river went numb—
                                                   the mind sunburned.

                                                   I imagine the second
                                                   before you took, before
                                                       the cells began to split,
                                                   before that flint
                                                   was struck, before the dna
                                                             began to twist,
                                        that a colorless emptiness
                           suddenly inverted
                   and told the world that he, too,
                                        once had a mother.

                                         But there is no nest of leaves. Nothing
                                         stops. The clock in the glacier
                                         still ticks above us
                              and on our skin
                   there were enormous ants, the segments
                               of their bodies  
                               like black droplets of paint
                                               pushed very close against each other
                                                      but still not touching, yet

                                                      taking their work with them—
                                                      taking away their dirt world.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2010).

 Sandra  Simonds


Sandra Simonds is the author of Warsaw Bikini (Bloof Books, 2008) and Mother Was a Tragic Girl (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2012). She is assistant professor of English and Humanities at Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Parenthood, Relationships, Men & Women

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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