Paul Hoover

Common Species

The words water lily,
their stems in mud,
ripen underwater.

Each rich sepal
is afloat with seeds,
but no scent issues

from something
so common.
Beyond this place

of umbels and stems,
in requiems and
cathedrals, it's

just like men
to carry so precisely
nothing like a coat.

But nothing is
nothing, from yellow
petals to bracts

of yarrow, ox-
eye daisy, and

Or nothing flares,
as one house grows
around its dying.

Descent into heaven
by means of speech.
Luminous debris

of an average place,
as when the room
is torn by sex

and exactness,
the hawk moth open
on this very bed.

At the mouth
of what answer
does the new

heart dwell?
Vibrating men and
unsocial women

entombed by habit
or living in grace.
Unruly powers like

and sin. Each word
now is equal to

another, its horizon
restless for a hint
of difference. Unruly

powers, chickweed
flowers. As the
plain facts deepen,

the proof of language
is a stinging nettle,
abandoned gardens.

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© 2002 Electronic Poetry Review