The Major Subjects

By LAWRENCE RAAB

Death is easier
than love. And true feeling, as someone said,
leaves no memory. Or else memory
replaces the past, which we know
never promised to be true.

 

Consider the sea cucumber:
when attacked it divides, sacrificing half
so that half
won’t get eaten. Can the part left undevoured
figure out what to do?

 

The natural world is always instructive,
mysterious as well, but often
hard to praise. Love
is also difficult—the way it slides into
so many other subjects,

 

like murder, deceit,
and the moon. As my mother used to say
about anything
we couldn’t find: If it had been
a snake it would have bitten you.

 

Fellow poets, we must
learn again to copy from nature,
see for ourselves
how steadfastly even its beauty
refuses to care or console.

 

 

Lawrence Raab is the author of seven collections of poems, most recentlyThe History of Forgetting and A Cup of Water Turns into a Rose.

[Purchase your copy of Issue 05 here]

The Major Subjects

Related Posts

Palm tree and building at dusk

Monsoon

URVI KUMBHAT
From my window I see a boy shaking the bougainvillea / for flowers. My parents talk of pruning it. They talk / of little else. The tree, spilling wildly past our house into / the gulley—where boys come to smoke or piss.

The Hundertwasser House in Vienna

Etude No. 2 and Etude No. 3

KIM CURTS MATTHEUSSENS
in Rome a monumental marble typewriter / ticked out their story into the sky: two lovers / devour time. she lay on the lawn near Trajan's / column. he plucked letters from her dress, / her hair, served them to her by hand, by mouth.

Image of an intensely green trailhead.

December 2022 Poetry Feature: Kevin McIlvoy

KEVIN McILVOY
On mine spoil. In debris fields / of asphalt and concrete and brick. / Upon sites of chemical spills. / Along lifeless riverbanks. / In clonal groves so hardy you / have to steel yourself for years / of killing to kill one acre. / Where construction crews rake off / the surface