A.R. Ammons Amid the Fungi

by Diane Ackerman
(originally from Wife of Light, 1978)

A.R. Ammons Amid the Fungi

You say:  segmented worms
roll back their saddles
during copulation.

And I say:  yes, and pine bristles
like a boar’s back.

And you say:  red-capped fungi
will fabric the spring.

And I say:  yse, and woodchucks
in hibernation are breathing
only ten times an hour.

And you say:  shape & form & saliences.
And I say:  verbal pliés, acoustic fatigue,

and do you read lodestars and cereal boxes?
And you say: yes, and navigation manuals,
place mats, and hurricane charts.

And I say:  do you mind that it’s colder
than a polar bear’s menses?  or that a cat
in a black hole in space becomes linguini?

I say:  did you know that from Rimbaud
you get barium and radium, Bim, Bram,
mab, braid, drum, dram, daub, raid?

And you say:  yes, and also bird & Brad,
Baird & Mau & Ra & Maud.  And axolotl
is also good, have you tried vineyard yet?

And I say:  yes, and that pockmarked
aluminum prop tha we call a moon
answers directly to Mission Control.

And you say:  yes, that trollop’s
on a tether of Tang; she put the rill
in Rilke, you know what I mean?

And I say:  yes, a bone knits and
a river purls, and I’ve always
admired your Southern kraal.

And you say:  jejune, and knee-deep
in the magma.
And I say:  this is not the Hebrew letter
for Jehovah.

And you say:  one thing about death –
it’s hereditary.

And I say:  where the hell are we
and, incidentally, how the hell is it here?
Isn’t a friend someone to tread water with?

And you say:  the asylum of idle chatter
is wide open.


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