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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, May 30, 2017.
About this Poem 

“This is part of a long political poem called ‘Atopia’ that I have been working on since the November election. In part, it’s an exploration of various conceptions of utopia and dystopia. I wrote this part of the poem in my head while on this hike that I took on Christmas Day 2016, the day George Michael died.”
—Sandra Simonds

The Garden of Eden

Vision of Baudelaire        in this North Florida forest      looking into the eye
of a lizard with green         purple eyeliner zigzagging its way up a burnt log

Florida Yew, Olive, neon orange        day moon mushrooms
over the white bluffs         of the psychiatric Apalachicola River

Valéry says shells, flowers and crystals    are the privileged
objects of nature           harmonic underbelly,
endless, alien recycle      of gorge and interlude 

George Michael died today       For I live in a bubble of joy     
Go out into the sun!         the doctor says               your blood work     
is totally normal   except for a            Vitamin D deficiency 
and left the office behind     and unleashed my sentimentality
 

Copyright © 2017 by Sandra Simonds. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 30, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Sandra Simonds. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 30, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Sandra Simonds

Sandra Simonds

Sandra Simonds is the author of Orlando (Wave Books, 2018).

by this poet

poem

Maybe the world will not be saved.
It will not be saved. Its commerce, its
every case also
moves into its geology
and then that geology moves
into some great exit of slowing
clocks and the history of saved light.

Listen, I’m not crazy. I want you to save
something for

poem

I’m a witch who lost all her powers, then
   in place of my powers, I got the coiled beauty
of seashells and sleeping infants. The coiled
beauty of eardrums, and the sound wave
of bells. The bells! This is the country of clouds.
       The molten body, the Floridian pinks,
       and

2
poem
Maybe silence adds to the pain
and maybe pain adds to the sea
and maybe the sea is only a reflection
of a ruin today
where the mind is unable to make out
how things used to be for us:
complete, with deities, a kind of 
order. Oh never mind the ATMs 
scattered throughout the medieval town
or the street art sprayed
2