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Clade Song 13

My Vocabulary Did This to Me

We stayed hours, killing the warm miles behind us.
Animals move and plants vegetate, oysters and tumbleweeds notwithstanding, she told
     me, stroking the tender of her left earlobe.

But whatever internal sensation might require our animal noise, silence seemed best.
Moreover, upon closer inspection, an occasion of small openings gave pause.

Consider, that is, the egg sacs of the female Bolas Spider.
Consider the contents of a dead cow’s stomach. Bits of flesh left in the crow’s beak.

Ask your ears if they have spoken enough.
If the eye fluid dampening a star might make it spin. Eternally.

All of my attention might lend itself to yours.
See how storms across the Sargasso Sea bolster one another and make fear the coast.

I learned to speak at times as if I were centuries old.
Remember how much Jack Spicer learned just from translating Beowulf?

There are green sea monsters and minute poisonous spiders that did this to me.
I looked up from my life into the eyes of the dead and said so. Again and again.





George Kalamaras is former Poet Laureate of Indiana (2014–2016). He is the author of twenty-three collections of poetry—fourteen full-length books and nine chapbooks. He is Professor Emeritus of English at Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he taught for thirty-two years. He lives with his wife, writer Mary Ann Cain, and their beagle, Blaisie, dividing their time between Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Livermore, Colorado, in the mountains north of Fort Collins.