Poems The Origin of Yet Has Been an Object of Endless Speculation*

Paul Nemser

One day the rain may make us blind—mollusk shells

that walk about without the flesh, without a lens.

Hard ribbed curvatures looking to find hands

under the very sameness of the sky we daily drown in.

The uncondemned houses never reach this far.

We can almost taste the seaweed on the sea.

You beat and beat a little foot. Everything

is gentle as after a hurricane. O eyes that look into

the distance and know what’s coming!

Some days we’re lion-toothed, some we’re not even rabid.

We flutter like finches that crack on the tongue.

Or we imitate beetle legs without the beetle body,

walking in rhythm along the window, out a screen hole

with a pure insistent thrum. Come shelter

under this apple in flower, its pink fingers opening.

How did it learn to be so kind? For moments,

we’re out of danger, afraid of nothing—when

a rain that had never rained begins to rain.

 

* Anatoly Liberman