Omnipresence is an Evolutionary Talent

The anhinga at the shore of the man-made lake
opens its wings and just stands there
like an idea being considered.

I’m in the mirror. The thought moves from one fingertip to another.
The anhinga lands here, inside the house, on my shoulders.
The duck with the red face is waiting on the lawn.

I keep thinking about what to evolve into next.
Even to become a word has already been done.
Wings flap at my ears. Will feathers do?

The anhinga is basking in the future.
I will have to find a way to be everywhere
or to survive in the corner of somewhere.

I will need a different skin for the next phase.
Call it my niche. Make it a lake.
I will build a new kind of house out of my body.


End of the Anthropocene

So I’m the window in the writing studio
Back against the door

The entire animal of myself
Looks out at the earth

My temperature adjusts itself
Between cold and warm

It’s a relief to look
At the earth from within the beast

I don’t owe it anything
I’m surviving, I’m branching

The leaves are t-t-t-t-tapping
It’s a real song programmed in the genetic code

The snow is full of fists
It’s supposed to hold everything then let it go

The snow’s wrinkled hand
Opens in the sun and it’s my hand

I forget the studio
The words on the desk

I claim cloudship
I etherize

There is wind and it spits
And hisses and sits in you

The earth is letting everything happen to it
The self has moved to the back of the room

There is a way to be an animal on earth
That must be learned

I climb out the window frame
Drop my knees to the snow

I’m crawling and sniffing
Flicking snowflakes from my hair


Hila Ratzabi

Hila Ratzabi was selected by Adrienne Rich as a recipient of a National Writers Union Poetry Prize, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and received an Amy Award. She was a finalist in the Narrative Fifth Annual Poetry Contest (2013). She is the author of the chapbook The Apparatus of Visible Things (Finishing Line Press). She is the editor-in-chief of Storyscape. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, and lives in Philadelphia where she founded the Red Sofa Salon & Poetry Workshop.

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