Elizabeth Whittlesey: Mr. Darwin Is
& Consider the Lilies

Mr. Darwin Is Briefed

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First they called the clay despicable, and then
they called the clay the most tremendous branch
ever to sprout from the invisible spire
which, for many voluptuous years, had served
not only as yardstick but bread of reality.
Jilted clay, after having received her many due apologies,
soon found herself betrayed by metal. Many ethereal things were forgotten.
Metal begot plastic, with an emphasis on speed.
And then packages, there were many packages.

Consider the Lilies

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—from “Elegy for a Dead Earth”

consider the natural
world how it tumbles
how it holds firm
how it yellows how greens
how blooms how mud
becomes cement then sticks
holds firm then
something gives in
the mother finally
pulls the child
who’s been tugging her leg
so long onto her lap
not understanding
the desperate urgency
but no longer needing a reason
or the child finally gives up
tugging the mother’s leg
and accepts mother’s non-reason
understanding only no
it is not possible

it is not possible the waves
return again and again
but what do they bring
the weather is no longer
reliable and we think we have
something to do with it
but we move about in our suits
opening doors to our delis
and the chrome is kept shiny
as possible the doorman helps
keeps things in order
but why is it so warm
observe the natural world
how it tumbles how
it holds firm but can it hold
firm we need it to
we tumble we scramble
we scurry in and out of
our delis we need sandwiches
we need soup we need to answer
the phone we need in our heels
we need the earth to hold firm
and the weather asks us
to hold it firm to give it a rest
but who will give the rest
when the rest of us are busy


FICTION: Lisa Beebe, Karl Harshbarger, Lauren Johnson, J. Robert Lennon

NONFICTION: Matthew Gavin Frank, Deborah Thompson

POETRY: Melissa Barrett, Thea Brown, Lauren Camp, Sampurna Chattarji, MRB Chelko, Patrick Culliton, John Gallaher, Ricky Garni, Meghan Lee, Kristen Orser, slp, Meghan Privitello, Megan Pugh, Amelia Salisbury, Matt Shears, Raena Shirali, Dolsy Smith, Avni Vyas, Elizabeth Whittlesey, Nicholas Wong

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