Poets for Science
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On the Bedside Table



All morning I observe the stone,
fat and fragrant as overripe fruit.

Peach and plum are stone fruits.
Pomme means apple. A human heart

weighs ten ounces. The temptation
with an apple, as with pain,

is to categorize it as sin and shame,
along with Eve, I suppose, and Persephone,

abductee into the underworld. Once, my sister
told me if you know three types of rocks,

you can do the crossword puzzle
even when you have a migraine. So often

lately I can’t even think, lose track
of basic facts. To hold things together,

I recite taxonomies—phylum, class,
order—like lullabies they soothe me

until Imitrex stupefies me,
extinction gone to the vein again,

call it taxidermy: vital organ,
wild and beating, panicked into stone,

petrified in the shape of a hole, a hole
the size of a fist, my fist

the shape of a heart buried alive—
igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic.