We never expected this. Shapes
in our shapeless garden. The crude

mound we’ve been growing, Dirt,
is gone. One of the shapes points

to itself, “Willem,” or no,
“Phyllis,” it’s hard to understand.

“That thing,” you say, “I think that
thing’s Dirt mixed with far whispers.”

Low chants from the rubbish shed.
In every direction obscenely

figs sprout. “I’m going in,” you yawn,
and of course Pop’s too busy with

his slime-mold farm to come out
and see. Meanwhile, terrible groans

are general. Terrible wailing and
gnashing and multiplying.

You stroll by, “Dirt’s back,” snap
your chewing gum like a yo-yo, “well,

I mean, not him exactly but a slew
of Baby Dirts.” I turn. The shape

called Willem is there and, behind it,
our garden, a plot of suckling mounds.

On my cheek I can
feel the shape’s spiny breath.

Gravel tears in its eyes  —
my eyes, it’s then I notice.



Danielle Blau’s Rhyme and Reason: Poetry, Philosophy, and the Art of Living the Big Questions is forthcoming from W.W. Norton.  Her poetry chapbook mere eye was selected for a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Award and published in 2013 with an introduction by D.A. Powell, and her poems won first place in the 2015 multi-genre Narrative 30 Below Contest.  Poetry, short stories, articles, and interviews by Blau can be found in such publications as The Atlantic online, The BafflerBlack ClockThe Harvard ReviewThe Literary ReviewNarrative MagazineThe New Yorker’s book blog, The Paris ReviewPloughsharesPlume PoetryThe Saint Ann’s ReviewThe Wolf, and in such poetry anthologies as Why I Am Not a Painter (Argos Books), Plume Poetry 5, and Plume Poetry 6.  A graduate of Brown University with an honors degree in philosophy, and of NYU with an MFA in poetry, she curates and hosts the monthly Gavagai Music + Reading Series, and teaches at Hunter College.

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