The Origin

Jane Mead
of what happened is not in language—
of this much I am certain.
Six degrees south, six east—

and you have it: the bird
with the blue feathers, the brown bird—
same white breasts, same scaly 

ankles. The waves between us—
house light and transform motion
into the harboring of sounds in language.—

Where there is newsprint
the fact of desire is turned from again—
and again. Just the sense

that what remains might well be held up—
later, as an ending.
Twice I have walked through this life—

once for nothing, once
for facts: fairy-shrimp in the vernal pool—
glassy-winged sharp-shooter

on the failing vines. Count me—
among the animals, their small 
committed calls.—

Count me among
the living. My greatest desire—
to exist in a physical world.

From The Usable Field by Jane Mead. Copyright © 2008 by Jane Mead. Reprinted by permission of Alice James Books. All rights reserved.

From The Usable Field by Jane Mead. Copyright © 2008 by Jane Mead. Reprinted by permission of Alice James Books. All rights reserved.

Jane Mead

by this poet

poem
I have been living
closer to the ocean than I thought--
in a rocky cove thick with seaweed.

It pulls me down when I go wading.
Sometimes, to get back to land
takes everything that I have in me. 

Sometimes, to get back to land
is the worst thing a person can do. 
Meanwhile, we are dreaming: 

The body is