Thursday, April 17, 2008

What Did You Come Up With? (Vol. 1 No. 4)

Exercise #0003: "Write a poem in which you take a scientific discovery and relate it to something in another field."

This week's featured writer is Miles B. Waggener. He sent us the poem below and received a free book from the Red Morning Press catalog.

Click here to read an interview with Miles B. Waggener.


Marsh Hawk on the Paddock Bridge

Over seamless fields, drainages to deeper water,
the eye and re-firing neural paths are
dove-rapt and hunting with feeding birds.

Rictal breath visible in the cold,
primary coverts splay and mantle the dove
peppered in blood, liturgical as a curtain

now offered up on memory's rusted girder.
Tendons shimmer, fibrous and oblong gore.
Trace back the dove

leaving the safety of the maple's lattice
to slide its shadow across the snowy field,
as from an old source, from hippocampus through

limbic byways, relive the dove plucked on the wing,
accruing context through the cortex.
There are the rough-edged holes

where blood melts through snow
and leads to fallen aftermath, the hollowed-out reliquary,
as synapses make my tangled way,

where a dove is obliterated, restaged, rived
and steaming on the bridge.
Blood's metallic warmth, like rust

courses through the Papez Circuit, and I'm
cleaning game birds again, or my grandfather
is again in his wheelchair, staring at his hands

in disbelief. As if they don't belong to him.
From hippocampus through cortex,
from the maple, dove shadow glides

out across the snow, back to hippocampus,
back to the disk-shaped face of marsh hawk.
Where within its eye-ring

the parabola sharpens, the circuit hollows
the cell that memory becomes, fovea from which
the heart, and not the eye, might see.

Retrace capturing and caught, re-travel synapses:
my head is on my mother's chest, her heart
beating through her blouse; my body draped

against my father, sweat and burbon, fried chop
and vinegar on his shirt, he's singing Deep
in the Heart of Texas. Remember, and again

the news breaks, our child won't come to term,
blood before the ultrasound, fields and copses
the dove sees in the hawk's grip,

the doctor wants me to sit down, the bird
falls from its branch, and every stone I ever throw
is falling back to me.