Mar­i­anne Boruch

The New York Review of Books - - Contents - —Mar­i­anne Boruch

Poem

How sal­mon love sex enough to fight up­hill in waters blast­ing brilliant, some one hun­dred mph (fact-check­ers, for­get it, I’m close.) How we stood, old inkling of such ex­haust­ing omg

Dar­win would have . . . (the dif­fer­ence, the same­thing­ness, an­i­mal hungers and fury and per­sis­tence, the be­lief, some amaz­ing some­thing next) ex­ploded!—his head on a pil­low most af­ter­noons in the par­lor, wrapped in her quiet con­cern. Emma the per­fect nurse, they say, who mar­ried the per­fect pa­tient, Vic­to­rian fa­ble, vel­vet-striped wall­pa­per even on the ceil­ing would be my guess.

Be­cause that trip he took in youth is ev­er­last­ing youth, is­land of huge tor­toises and the tiny cac­tus finch plus that other green spot in the sea, its DNA trace of the grand ex­tinct Dodo too trust­ing to run from sailors with their clubs, too weird, and big­ger, cer­tainly more feathered and blank-eyed than one im­pos­si­ble ir­re­place­able Great Un­cle Cedric

I heard of, just want­ing a lit­tle hon­est-to-god bar­beque at the wed­ding.

The forces of life are mys­te­ri­ous. But thrilling and painful, Au­gust in Alaska near

Se­ward, gone up in a firestorm dur­ing the quake, 1964, any year in a fade next to our stunned stand­ing at the sal­mon weir, a patch of woods, sun­lit river rag­ing, those bright mus­cle-crea­tures blown back at it at it leap­ing, fail­ing spec­tac­u­lar up­starts all over again hu­man. What it means to love is speech­less.

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