Timothy Donnelly

May 24, 2022 Donnelly Timothy



What if I was uttered into existence through the teamwork of cultists
and not, as I take it, born of a human woman
under standard conditions: songbirds affirmative, war flickering
apart on television, rhubarb raising its arms up from the patch?
Would I catch any difference between memories implanted
into me only yesterday, or whenever it was I was
spanked into action, and those I picked up over time like a janitor
inching his push-broom of consciousness into winter in Wisconsin?
Reality, he thinks, has holes in it, and another oozes through
like spaetzle from a spaetzle maker, little sparrows of dough
canoodling in the pot’s hot storm, skimmed up gently
and tossed in a bowl with butter, cheese, and caramelized onion.
But it is likewise the soil, the wheat, the clay, and the spinning;
the grass in the mouth of a cow, the secretion; delayed shipments,
sunsets, and rainfall on advertisements; the unprotected labor
and Christmas bonuses; every substance and action prior to, after, during…
Eat, they say. You have been kept too hungry. What is set in front of you
is. The road was long due to technical issues but together
we will triumph. Photograph your food. Let everyone you know
know you know now what your meal is; you know now what’s real.

Timothy Donnelly’s most recent book of poetry is The Problem of the Many. He teaches at the Columbia University School of the Arts.