What Evolves 

In that state I have only been
to once, that year of the hurricane
that shares your name: change.
More swiftly than expected, this work
at survival. At being able to crack
the shell. Pick clean
what sustains.

This bird growing – its beak
and body. The fledgling of the larger,
larger, too. As if to say, Here
is what I give you. This gene, this skill
at adaptation.

~

When you went away
for the last time, I wrote each day
for twenty-six days. Bits
of what I had learned. Something
like the iron taken when I carried you. All
the fresh leafy greens consumed.

~

The lessons
in letters, in the one from
the two, the two times the four.
The task of brushing
until the song sung
in your head came to an end.

~

Not the white loaf
but the thick hearty wheat
in the room that got sun
all day. Raspberries, blueberries,
blackberries. The avocado,
slick and green.

~

How to sally
and, also, be kind. How to
sleep in the cool dark nest
of your bed and then rise
at the same time
every morning.

~

Look at you.
You with your long legs
and wide smile, peeling
the clementine.

~

Ecologists and ornithologists marvel
at this evolution. The beak
like the claw, sharp
and serviceable.

They watch the birds step
along the shore, in the wetlands,
devouring not the apple snail
but the bigger mollusk.

They croon, trill
of success.

 

Volume 12.1 - June 2019

Kelly R. Samuels is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. She is the author of the chapbook Words Some of Us Rarely Use (Unsolicited Press, 2019). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous journals including Salt Hill, The Carolina Quarterly, Sweet Tree Review, Permafrost, and RHINO. She lives in the upper Midwest.