- Planet, and: In the Fetus Museum, and: Epithalamium, and: Sagesse, and: Heliopause
You're alive. You stumble from the spaceship's hullTesting your radio . . . it gives a promising fuzz,But the mother-craft does not return your call.So you're forced to find food and water,
Though the food here is green, the water purple.Furtively you try them, one night, cursing,Ravenous, on a hillock, under pale, circling moons—Sweetness of daffodils, water crisp as dimes.
Still you're searching some key thing;Minerals? Fuel? At the time you like to call midnight,Long spokes of smoke rise from mountain poolsAnd when the violet sun gashes you awake
You see how everyone on earth is retreating from youThe way starfish slide beneath soft, repeated waves.What a distant country is human touch; and good riddance.Scrambling over the cliffs of your new planet,
Strange but not unpleasant, with angular black rocks,Periodically you may gasp, checking over a shoulder,But then you'll recall there is no one else here,No one else in this world, and carry on with your roving. [End Page 144]
[inline-graphic xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" xlink:href="02i" baseline-shift="floatLeft" /] "These five poems are drawn from my second manuscript, which takes for its presiding obsessions the topics of love and sex. To my mind, the manuscript picks up where my first book left off. Many saw in Beasts for the Chase a record of the invention of the self, cast in the form of an odyssey or quest. Once the self has individuated, has become one out of nothing, then the question of forming a union with the other arises. My hope is that, given how restrictive in scope the thematic concerns of this manuscript are, the poems embody a wild diversity of perspective, voice and style so that they can surprise a reader. In connection with 'Planet' (though in a sense all of these poems as well), I want to point out the etymology of the title, which comes from the Greek verb 'to wander', a derivation I first learned when I read about Martin Luther's sixteenth-century complaint, 'They are trying to make me into a fixed star. But I am an irregular planet.' The notion of the planet as wanderer has haunted me ever since."
Monica Ferrell is the author of a collection of poems, Beasts for the Chase, which won the Kathryn A. Morton Prize and was published by Sarabande Books, as well as of a novel, The Answer Is Always Yes (The Dial Press/Random House), which was named a Borders Original Voices Selection and one of Booklist's Top Ten Debut Novels of 2008. Her poems have appeared in the New York Review of Books, the Paris Review, Tin House, Slate and many other journals and anthologies. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow and Discovery/The Nation prizewinner, she directs the creative writing program at Purchase College and lives in Brooklyn.
- In the Fetus Museum
White, incorruptible, a slip of moonfilming the reed-bordered waters of a pond,he sits, or rather slumps, against the glass.He's in no hurry. The world is here,
now and then it drags up an agonized eyeto plead with him—mahavir, tiny Nero.Gently, almost wincing, he smilesas though waiting for me to finish my sentence.
Unborn. A door through which possibilitynever walked. Flute no one ever played.Once his cells were assembling their lace,his mother was blinking into the sunlight.
Perhaps his invitation was lost in the mail,though perhaps it's just as well. After all,he's not missing much—except everything.The inventions of lust, the pageantry of what. [End Page 145]
[inline-graphic xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" xlink:href="03i" baseline-shift="floatLeft" /] "These five poems are drawn from my second manuscript, which takes for its presiding obsessions the topics of love and sex. To my mind, the manuscript picks up where my first book left off. Many saw in Beasts for the...