May/June 2016 • Vol. XXXVIII No. 3 Nature's NatureMay 1, 2016 |

From “Paroxysm”

The voice that is warning you constantly against this clearly wasteful epoch—all the bees and the oceans and Look What We've Done—has uttered nothing yet aboutyour panic: how this one and this one—you learn,despite your will to live, to speak their names in the style of Homeric head counts, an ocean of their bodies, beached—were also of this world. They didn't return. You're asking, Have you seen them? Are there rooms in your blueprint of Eden for these to come to? And you haven't stopped debating how weather can matter to you. Why dam the funnel? Why preserve any ecosystem incidental to this incremental disappearance? The question of living becomes one of committing to your own extinction. The apex predation, the brilliance in it, this global verdant climb beyond— Is this what it means to be lost in the night? A paranoir. Unearthing tombs and slipping inside of annullable memory. You don't expect survival but demand to survive nonetheless and believe as if

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Justin Phillip Reed is the author of Indecency (Coffee House Press), winner of the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry and a finalist for the 2019 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His second full-length collection of poetry, The Malevolent Volume, will be released in Spring 2020. His work appears in African American Review, Denver Quarterly, Guernica, New Republic, Obsidian, and elsewhere. He is the 2019-2021 Fellow in Creative Writing at the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics. Come see about him at justinphillipreed.com.

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