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.

In the Natural World

Related Posts

Image of almonds pouring from a glass bowl.

Reina María Rodríguez: Poems in Translation

REINA MARÍA RODRÍGUEZ
Naturally, Flaubert’s parrot / could not be called Chucho, / his author wouldn’t stick him / with a name like that. / From which follows the importance of names. / But in the stories last night / —the reconstruction of a postcard / which we were creating...

Image of hill, river, and houses.

Joss

PATRICIA LIU
Paper is thin. In the beginning, still billows in the wind, still petal-like, still grounded in this world / of living. The incense is the only material that translates the viscera to mist. Early, the fog has not yet / lifted, and we move through the white drip as if through total darkness. Fish lost in the deep under- / water.

poetry feature image

March 2021 Poetry Feature: Sylvie Durbec

SYLVIE DURBEC
I still don’t know how to type a tilde on a computer keyboard / when writing the name of a Spanish or Portuguese writer I love. / Nor do I know what poetry is. / I don’t know whether we need it. Or not. / And what we really need here. / Elsewhere, water, bread, milk.