Check out this poem and more from Paul Christiansen in the second volume of Structural Damage. Also, keep an eye out for an interview with him next month.
Human history with respect to life on Earth is as deep as the displacement of the smallest seabird floating on top of a wave over the deepest part of the ocean.
- Caspar Henderson
Perched on the Atlantic’s immense back,
the storm petrel, a tiny bundle of black feathers,
weightless, imperceptible mole.
I cut the engines, drift close,
extend a steady arm over the swells
and hurl a weighted net, pinning its wingflaps to the surface.
Back on land, garlic snaps and whimpers
alongside salt and onions in a pan of melting butter,
while I pull feather from skin, bone from flesh.
I pour a glass of camauro-colored wine,
spoils from our ancient conquest of wild grapes,
and take my meal to a table overlooking the ocean.
Listening to the sea dismantle itself against the stony shore,
I consume the bird in four careful bites, and recline in my chair,
while out there, beyond the influence of air or light,
trillions of krill punctuate the depths,
bioluminescent organs enflaming their fragile bodies,
each like a Library of Alexandria burning through the night.
Paul Christiansen received his BA at St. Olaf College and his MFA at Florida International University where he worked as editor-in-chief of Gulf Stream Magazine and assisted with Jai-Alai Magazine. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Atlanta Review, Pleiades, Quarter After Eight, Threepenny Review, Zone Three and elsewhere. A former Fulbright Fellow and winner of two Academy of American Poetry awards, he currently resides in Saigon. www.paulchristiansen.net