In the beginning, when the earth was void,
we hadn’t a shadow to hold to, each flooded

with breeze and flux. We hadn’t a hand to grasp
with—we were they, and they were the cusp

of something moving, a swarm that engulfed
beginnings and ends. In the beginning, every-

thing was middle, and lovely to behold
(if you like that sort of thing) back before the old

something-from-nothing routine, before the rootless
abraxas when we blinked and didn’t notice

who stood or cried or threw its drink in whose face,
before we fumed inside our lonely orifice

or walked across the bridge as it assembled
under our feet, our feet fangling the first simple

dance steps up from the swamp, the ladders
of DNA and wrack, our bony love letters

eeked in rock for future generations—
then up from the snowy pages, the engine

unzipping the trees from the horizon,
we sobered into our bright isolation.


Joanie by jrl copy.jpgJoanie Mackowski has published two books of poetry, View from a Temporary Window and The Zoo. She teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Cornell University.

Homepage photograph via Flickr by h.koppdelaney

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