Some Truth of It All

for Archie Ammons: his ancient memory: the humors

Can it be true that, in the blur of ancient
experience, the original flick of life,
the very initial light of the almost-bacterium:

is it true that the eve-adamic microbe
has been, so far, immortal?
or is it only true that I, idle container of multitudes,

shouldn’t have chanced to insult microbial autonomy?
for if what followed is not true
it is demonstrable, an exploratory passe-temps

because offence would seem to have been taken,
for a couple of days after I said it
I began to burp, and I burped sulfur –

rotten eggs – microbial brimstone effluence
and then a few days of subtle nausea,
an existential evocation of contagion

just enough to keep me down and focused
enough that I might distract discomfort
contemplating the truth of truth

and I sank into the anaerobic fen of my being.
I tormented my feeble chemistry of soul with
the Morality of Truth. And

I have suffered
the guilt of failing to protect my center of being
from the enveloping threat of the mere angst

I have suffered, enjoyed the failure
of delving into the mysteries of the abstract distant
before I dared touch the mysteries in front of –

in me

conscious of being in the way at a time
when I also have no particular reason not
to stick around, being one specimen in –

in what?
7,000,000,000 plus plus plus
dust-driven futile migrations of bodies.

My participation in the ravages
of the obesist invasive species available to starvation
these drifting epochs past

matters only to the extent that I can contribute
to its – the species, that is, the glutted remainder
of the genus – its further inflation –

eruptive eruction:
an heroic burp of hopeward extinction:

Paradise Foreclosed

Richard Fenton Sederstrom is the writer of six books, including Eumaeus Tends, and Selenity Book Four. His new book Sorgmantel, follows a view of Lucretius, but employs time, the predicate of physics, into a search for what can be imagined out of the possible and impossible. It can be read, perhaps, as an elegy for generations whose existence humankind is threatening, including humankind. Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.