The Empress at Large

I placed a bit of seaweed on my tongue and remembered
when I was a fish. At the campfire’s edge
I misread a book’s title as The Thunder World
and remembered what it was to storm. Having
inherited this current form from my human parents
is a fleshy pleasure. How I walk on two legs
through time. The novelty. A little cabin
by the river nobody can see is a joyful secret,
practically.               The thing about nature is
the thing. The whole thing. If you really listen,
and however long, what you hear is how
much inside the familiar you still haven’t met.
When I think of my fields, I remember being
a newly planted seed. When I think of home, I remember
the beauty of not having seen one flag all week.

Paula Cisewski‘s fourth poetry collection, Quitterwon the Diode Editions Book Prize. She is also the author of The Threatened EverythingGhost Fargo (Nightboat Poetry Prize winner, selected by Franz Wright), Upon Arrival, and several chapbooks, including the lyric prose Misplaced Sinister. She lives in Minneapolis, where she teaches, collaborates with fellow artists and activists, and serves on the editorial staff of Conduit

Cover image by Bob Bowie