In the Natural World

By LAWRENCE RAAB

Animals dream, but of what we do not know.
They wake quickly, even when accustomed
to safety. Maybe some think back,

maybe others regret. But what about guilt?
Does it play a part in their kingdom?
Or is it only our burden? In one night

moles can dig tunnels 300 feet long,
while all that time we’re awake
brooding about the future,

which makes sense, or the past,
which is hopeless, or about the moment
itself as we lie there, letting a few

more minutes slip away into an hour,
then another, as if there were nothing
to being awake but losing, which is not

a thought animals entertain,
however inconsolable they might appear,
bent over their dead and their dying.

 

LAWRENCE RAAB is the author of eight collections of poems, including The History of Forgetting, A Cup of Water Turns into a Rose, and Mistaking Each Other for Ghosts, which was longlisted for the National Book Award and named one of the ten Best Poetry Books of 2015 by The New York Times. A collection of his essays, Why Don’t We Say What We Mean?, was published in 2016, and a new collection of poems, The Life Beside This One, will appear in the fall of 2017. He teaches literature and writing at Williams College.

Purchase Issue 14 here.

Debbie WenIn the Natural World

Related Posts

bar bottles

Loss and Its Antonym

ALISON PRINE
I want to learn to write about the loves / that haven’t died—yellowed paperbacks / with broken spines, the stillness of the lake / from the fishing pier on winter mornings, / the people in this small city / I sometimes recognize on the sidewalk / a decade after our bar shut down.

June 2018 Poetry Feature

NATHALIE HANDAL
Because some words together / can frighten loneliness / like the lagoon moving aside / for the sea / Because you’ve chosen / the most crowded voices to hide in / Because you’ve chosen / the oldest wound to haunt you / Because I can’t show you / myself entirely