The End of Thinking

(Responding to some poems by Louise Glück)

How hard to think.
How much harder
when you suddenly discover
that you are the rear end
of the severed worm.

Or the severed thumb
of a starfish—
and how did you know
which of the five points
was the thumb?

And even if you think
you’re sure about the issue
what have the distractive
possibilities of the question done
to your treasured sense of discrete identity?

How hard to think
when you suddenly discover
that you are the front end
of the severed worm,
because you find yourself

altogether bumfuzzled
by the anatomical probability that
you should be able to miss the other half
more than it is able to miss you.
But you don’t, can’t, know.

Now, embrangled in refragible questions,
you surrender what you might have thought
was your abiding identity to some wriggling shadow
of someone else’s scattered ends of incarnation.
Poet that you are, you discover for yourself
the lachrymose end of the annelid.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.