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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

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

Locked in the beauty of the pearl, far from frail,
         these people who claim to love us still
they don’t give up much, do they, sealed? To eradicate class—
      the looking glass of it, the complex glare: “Let me introduce
xxx, impoverished poet.” Winter let up
     like a terrible

2
poem

with the medicinal poppies of June
nor with Celan's bloom-fest of dredged stone,
      not with history's choo-choo train of corpses,
    not with Nottingham's Robin Hood
            nor Antwerp's Diamondland.

Not walking on the Strand in Manhattan Beach with her
       silicone