Today's poem is by Melanie Dusseau

Darwin Enters the City of His Birth

The sleeping sickness came
and he slow-caved in time.
His sketchbook open

on what he'd conjured from feet
and feathers, a callused big digit,
every suck and pulse of organs

dreaming the factory of their endless forming,
helpless and protean. Each carpet and corner
of his house agreed.

What is progress but a reason
not to hate ourselves?
Isn't every morning unfinished til noon?

He avoided the townsfolk and their fumbling
layman's science: how they'd mistake
the aphid's sweet excretion to the ant for altruism,

how they'd assume that shoulder blades
were stunted wing stumps, but forget to ask:
were we once angels or one day will we be?

He knew finally the snipped string's purpose:
to tell us when we're done—not ready,
not yet perfect—but home.

Copyright © 2004 Melanie Dusseau All rights reserved
from River Styx
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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