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


It's easier, now, for a man stranded on an island to place a message in a bottle and have it carried away on the backs of the waves. Before, it was hard to find a bottle. The isolated man had to pray one would wash ashore. Now, the island might be made of bottles and lawn chairs, and little plastic heads of little plastic dolls. Here's a computer keyboard. Here's a coastline culled from sunglasses and prescription vials with child resistant lids. The man could construct a city from such things, but right now, he only needs a bottle. Problem is: how to choose? So he picks a different one each day, and pitches his plea for aid into the massive cerulean question: What will become of this world? Today, he opts for a two-liter bottle of Cherry Pepsi. Tomorrow, it might be Tropicana or a gallon of sunblock. Each day, his island is one bottle smaller. Each day, the ground beneath him recedes. Not to worry, if his island disappears, a fresh one forms not far away, and each t

Already have an account? Log in

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece

Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.
Matthew Olzmann is the author of two poetry collections: Mezzanines and Contradictions in the Design (both from Alice James Books). He teaches at Dartmouth College and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

Read More


Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.


With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.