POETRY: MALLORY SMITH
A Response to Don McKay
Not no thing, but our
fear of obliteration treats
naming as an end.
What species can conceive
Shield moraines pines beechleaves magpies honeybees snowfleas cells
do not tolerate a void.
Man might be the unintended side-effect,
the by-product of nature, since
humans sense absence,
which does not exist.
The air, no longer a divine canopy,
still teems with molecules, chemicals, atoms,
man persists in declaring nothingness.
This is a lonely species.
Perhaps the origins of dwellings,
man sectioning himself off, started with the walls
of his body filled with isolation where
there is none.
Perhaps he believes
he has the right
to name the space between things,
can perceive the end of all things.
worth his preconceived notice;
he notices nothingness and
does not see anything of note.
But his species dies,
man ceases, and the death rattle
he does not know what nothing he will be.
Mallory Smith is a Creative Writing and English PhD candidate here at the University of Calgary, and the current Artist in Residence to the Cumming School of Medicine. Her thesis poetry collection, Smutty Alchemy, looks at the re-telling of scientific information in verse, materiality, and the work of the 17th century philospher, scientist, and writer Margaret Cavendish. She has interests in photography, recipe making, canoeing, theatre, gardening, and bookbinding.
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