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By Natasha Sajé

You and me, of course, and the animals

we feed and then slaughter. The boxelder

bug with its dot of red, yeast in the air

making bread and wine, bacteria

in yogurt, carrots, the apple tree,

each white blossom. And rock, which lives

so slowly it’s hard to imagine it

as sand then glass. A sea called dead is one that

will not mirror us. We think as human

beings we deserve every last thing. Say

the element copper. Incandescence

glowing bright and soft like Venus.

Ductile as a shewolf’s eyes pigmented red

or green, exposed to acid in the air.

Copper primes your liver, its mines leach lead

and arsenic. Smelting is to melting

the way smite is to mite. A violence

of extraction. What’s lost when a language

dies? When its tropes oppose our own?

In the at-risk language Aymara

the past stretches out in front, the future

lags behind. Imagine being led

by knowing, imagine the end as clear.


Source: Poetry (March 2019)

  • Arts & Sciences
  • Living
  • Nature

Poet Bio

Natasha Sajé
Natasha Sajé’s recent books are Vivarium (Tupelo Press, 2014) and Windows and Doors: A Poet Reads Literary Theory (University of Michigan Press, 2014). See More By This Poet

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