These poems first appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of the Antioch Review.
Sick of ink (a professional worder)
I went into the biosphere
With two botanizers, a birder,
And a Leave‑No‑Trace‑Trained mountaineer.
We witnessed the sacred in several classes.
They showed me how elevations flatten
On a topo map. Through fine field glasses
We confirmed a quantity of Latin.
Idle by nature, sick of talk,
I went into the somewhat wild
With an undifferentiated dog,
An apple, a gum wrapper, and a six year old.
The crags scratched our eyeballs. A brace of Quink
Came burtling out of their whiskets. Old Breather
Whulphed. It wasn’t what you think,
Exactly. I guess you had to be there.
PAN SAPIENS 2
I am Pan Sapiens. I don’t speak well,
And so I write. Some say I look like hell.
I think that’s hard. I think I look like you.
Pan in, however—never mind the view:
You’ve seen it all your life, the diorama
Stinking with the crowd of us, from Rama-
Pithecus to poor Neanderthal,
Who’s lost his lisp at last, and, standing tall
Peers like any fool into my eyes
Where once upon a time, a wild surmise…
Now, dip your quill into his pupils’ ink:
It isn’t how l look. It’s if I think.
Richard Kenney‘s most recent book is The One-Strand River (Knopf, 2008). He teaches at the University of Washington, and lives with his family in Port Townsend.
© 2015 The Antioch Review