How it Starts
In its pre-dawn, concert-hall hush,
the meadow’s plushly puffed,
its loose-elbowed sleeves
summer-bumbled and electric.
Over this pink symphonic wreckage,
the chorus shifts its weight,
takes the milkweed for a baton,
nodding at the pond,
the tight-stretched silver
of a trombone’s bell drifting
above the rustle of the patrons’ programs.
The Star-Nosed Mole
Scientists are fascinated
by my ever-moving rays.
It’s like my head is made of hands,
tickling a symphony in soil.
A grub there, cricket here, and suddenly,
all in my maw. I can even smell underwater.
Unfortunately, my predators include
everything from weasels to fish.
A walleyed pike will swallow me whole,
me, who is Armageddon to earthworms,
to the thousand wiggling breadcrumbs
that make dirt from roots and seeds
and corpses. I am resolutely unlovely,
but here’s a charming fact—my nose
really is called a star. It has 22 rays
and when I am born, my star
is closed as fast as my eyes.
My useless eyes, my useful star,
its rays that make me earth’s fastest eater—
the speed with which I pass from touch
to bite strains the edge of synapse.
I build doors in mud, in sluggish, soggy soils.
I cross frozen ponds, I breed underground
and almost no one sees me. Little self-crowned
king of swampland, I. I can smell
your curiosity from here.
Click to Visit More from and on Maureen Thorson
· On March 8, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. eastern, Veliz Books will host a virtual launch reading for Maureen Thorson’s new poetry collection, Share the Wealth. To obtain the Zoom link and other event details, visit fb.me/e/1bdLnQff9.
· On March 16, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. eastern, Maureen Thorson will read in-person with Meghan Sterling and Dawn Potter for the inaugural 3×3 reading series hosted by Lily Greenberg at Trinity Episcopal Church, 580 Forest Ave., Portland, Maine. For more info: https://lily-greenberg.com/3×3-poetry-series/.
MAUREEN THORSON (www.maureenthorson.com) is the author of the full-length collections Share the Wealth (Veliz Books), My Resignation (Shearsman Books), and Applies to Oranges (Ugly Duckling Presse). She is the founder of NaPoWriMo, an annual project in which poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April. She lives in Maine.