Veronica Kuhn



after Marie Kondo

Everything was alive.

To be alive is the condition of having some inner order.

For instance, the soft pink erasers
stabled in the cubby because I gave them that.

I set everything in its living place.
The crayons. The rubber bands. The mechanical pencils.               

A graham cracker shuddered with ants,
so I tidied the ants, all those messy insect taxonomies

tuned like throats singing two tones at once,

while outside, other children's feet
made a feral noise.

I thanked my quiet shoes.

I thanked my socks so did not bind them together.

I thanked my primordial fish.
Her slight genetic mishaps heaved

that plated body from ocean onto muck,
bore the sky’s sudden weight—as I heaved

I breached the skin of air
stretched across the doorframe.

There: the horizon oriented
like a coffin.

Live oaks make such sloppy packages.
It’s best to align stems vertically.

They have more room to breathe that way.



"The Ariadne's thread of botany is system, without which botany is chaos."
— Carl Linneaus, from Philosophia Botanica (translated by Stephen Freer)