Little World / After a Series of Rejections
by Sawnie Morris

First Place, Ruth Stone Poetry Prize

You      can safely e merge        to sit   with magenta   tulips   ,
orange day    lilies    shouting

surprise(!)    in their inaudible – to – humans –  language.  . ..   Dandelions make
punctuation    marks   in short   isomorphic    sentences of

manna and buffalo grass.     You   are struck
by the    watery    sounds       grackles    make.   It’s fabulous ,

and they are forgetful                of  you ,    which is also            grand,    gathered
as they are    in the crabapple     and hopping in   miniature

crescendos   ~ ^ ~ ~ ^   they’ve made      a discovery,   these   branches     this
bark : new     country,       paradise,     the real

estate     they have    longed     for .      How far out
on a limb are you willing to go? ,  ,     perched

on     the radical          reaches     of
nerve      nebulae . … .       Into the blue  

beyond      .  . …   .
a less  bird-like    sotto voice   chimes : “that’s your grandmother’s

language”     &       “ it’s   getting     hot”   – –
Y ou move   beneath

the   crabapple,       grackles
scatter.   In the halo of        sentence-diagrams

there’s a buzzing       Gertrude
vibrated    along   with.     You watch    a bumble bee     go     at it

with a blossom,   and a     smaller       black     drone     hovers :
amateur   observing a    pro.   The speaker

phone       makes an ugly   sound •     from inside
the house ,  as though    calling for   a

doctor.   The message     says
not   to     leave   a          message     ,,   someone

ornery    or desperate  or    oblivious   does so
anyway.   Your   beloved is

in the    painting   studio     laughing   at the    astrological
forecast     that has    interrupted the    jazz

show.  Briefly,
s/he hammers  a     board .   When you first crept   out

the door  you were     startled
by      branches    of the lilac   ,   how exactly

they  were         capillaries craning   their angular
snake-like     necks   , forest     explosions !     (radiant

ends ).    This     has   everything       to do    with
the limb-
ic    system ,       your  thin   malachite     t-shirt

a  pond –
w/     gold   sparkle ,     which   floats    , ,

and the emerald   ink      you write  in     every
spring  b/c you have   a need  to

talk to   yourself      in   color  after     the spanipelagic   wash
of   winter.    The black dog    drinks

from the bird’s   oval   basin     & lies down       covered
in     the  cadmium       heat of the nearest

star . Light     is    amniotic   , we swim ..       More banging
sparks   up   static  in      the studio.        You have   only

so much   sand   left       in   the eternity
symbol   ,       how are you      going to
count  it ?

( The   dog   rolls   on his    back
r olls   back     on his    side

snorts     . )       The virgin constellation    sits at a  tilt  ,
rock-nested.   She’s  seen     more  gracious

rotations  ,    but       remains
in the prayerful      position.   On the other side  of

dishevelment ,       stone and latilla       steps    hide
the insignia     of   crab          beneath

sage.       It isn’t that      you
are crabby    ,  it’s that  your    efforts  are       beginning to

resemble    a      gust       hitting      a    cluster
of densely packed particles.         Perhaps  your

elements are     perplexed . Wind
is      ephemeral.

The    dog           leaves   the   rays
in   favor   of   a      gray

the    crabapple             casts
,, (  The dog  ,     at least     , thinks

you might  have       something to     offer. )  The grackles
have decided      you are a non-
threat,   so move in      as   close

as      the nearest       apple  .
Chuck chuck  chuck ,    the shiny     crow     says,

Pheew.   Perfectly normal             bees
descend     to       lower   branches ,     close to your

hat, which is
human.   Nature          adores you ,

what more   can you want ?
The         unknowable           answers

w/ last night’s   dream :   B.H.     exhorts   ‘A.S.   to   WRITE !

A   Klee-like         twig-drawing   appears :       rectangular dwelling
containing a flower-in-a-pot, a stick-tree ,   and a stick-person

etched     in the skin of
an   upper   arm   ,

a     shot in the   dark

( like the doctor gives ) of the lyric :
( according to Donne ) :

a     little     world
made                                                                  cunningly   .”


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