“God is an infinite sphere, the center of which is everywhere, the circumference nowhere.” —Borges 1. The peony, which was not open this morning, has opened, falling over its edges like the circumference of God, still clasped at the center: my two-month-old daughter’s hand in Palmer reflex, having endured from the apes: ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny, clutching for fur. Her face is always tilted up when I carry her, her eyes, always blue. She is asking nothing of the sky, nothing of the pileated woodpeckers, their directionless wings, directed bodies, the unmoved moving. 2. Hold still, song of the wood thrush, twin voice boxes poised, smell of the creek and the locust flowers, white as wafers on the branches, communion: pistil, stamen, bee. Hold still. She doesn’t say a word. 3. When we eat, what we eat is the body of the world. Also when we do not eat. She is asking the sky for milk. Take and eat, we tell her, this is my body which is given for you, child, who are here now, though you were not, though you will be old then absent again: sad to us going forward in time but not back. Not sad to you at all. The peony whose circumference is nowhere, you, whose head now is weighted to my chest, the creek stringing lights along next to us, the peony which has opened.
Copyright © 2017 by Leah Naomi Green. Originally published in Pleiades, Summer 2017. Used with permission of the author.
Leah Naomi Green
Leah Naomi Green’s first full-length poetry collection, The More Extravagant Feast (Graywolf Press, 2020), was selected by Li-Young Lee as the winner of the 2019 Walt Whitman Award, given by the Academy of American Poets.
Date Published: 2017-09-06
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/narration-transubstantiation