"Is the soul solid, like iron?
Or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?"
"At the end
of the unfinished letter,
I stared at words
no one could have
fathered, until they
grew still and took on
the depth of woods,
the patience of ponds
the flat shadows,"
— Larry Levis
, from section 2 of “The Witness,” The Afterlife
(Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1998)
"you have had love, and that means
your sternum is a divining rod
for both passion and grief. because the tongue is the body’s
strongest muscle, make it say
joy. make it say I am a factory of splendid things. make it say
the octopus is the smartest animal
in the animal kingdom, and I am an octopus. I am an octopus.
I am happy. my survival
was not an accident, or purposeless."