Two Poems | Eleni Sikelianos | Granta

Two Poems

Eleni Sikelianos

Field, Forest, Cloth, Road

what animal running through the leaves, across the green or screen
the calf whose eyes I was gazing into
the bottom of deep brown where I had fallen
then the calf had fallen down
and I was eating it

foxes and wolves go
into the village and play with the children
Chernobyl foxes go
Fukushima crows go flying

‘No one told the stork,’ wrote the child under her drawing
Not the crows greedy at radiocesium-soaked persimmons aflame
at the tips of blacked-silk branches, this strangest orange equation

One woman dreams she’s given birth to a puppy with the head of a hedgehog
She gets lost with the lemur in the tapestry, tangled up near the surprised lion
The tarsier-lizard-monkey with one eye sleeping and one eye alert is at the heart
of the matter

The deer leaping away from the car in my dream






polishing my animal mirror

I was polishing my animal
mirror – no
moths appeared there
in the single crystal genetic light
in the dark mirror candle night

I was polishing my animal mirror, examining
my animal teeth        a snake
appeared in the mirror’s thin
gravel drive-
way, someone
had run over, had flattened it
into permanent s-

in the animal mirror my incisors
were not fangs but surely
they could still tear
meat   Yes
the cat   Yes, the bear

I was polishing my animal
mirror practicing noninvasive
knowing and wondering
about control
the magic kin
magic skin of this animal mirror

‘Don’t worry, that’s just me,’ you say to yourself
shining like a violet ground beetle under a stone

Seastars are near vertebrates over to the left
coelacanth on the far side riding toward you and birds

Reptilian branch aflame on the plain

In the animal mirror mollusks are inching toward earthworms who
touching themselves touch earth anew
each time they move

Image © Vipin Baliga

This is an extract from Your Kingdom by Eleni Sikelianos, published by Coffee House Press in the US.

Eleni Sikelianos

Born in California on Walt Whitman’s birthday, Eleni Sikelianos is a poet, writer, and a “master of mixing genres”. She grew up in earshot of the ocean, in small coastal towns near Santa Barbara, and has since lived in San Francisco, New York, Paris, Athens (Greece), Boulder (Colorado), and Providence. Deeply engaged with ecopoetics, her work takes up urgent concerns of environmental precarity and ancestral lineages. Your Kingdom is her tenth book of poetry, riding alongside two memoir-verse-image-novels.

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