Gaslight shuddering in a glass globe,
pen dipped into a black hole,
and a line-drawing as he writes in the labels
so we know the book is to be about sex.
Until then, we misread the clues. Maybe
when the figure waits on the paper
the way she feels is universal, a general
sense of being carefully observed.
But when he adds the words we recognize
her from the diagrams at school
that made us blush. This goes in here
which receives it thus. This lights this
with a white flame. This opens. This grows.
This is what soft and hard feel like. This
plants a seed in the earth. This gives.
This makes the world. Accidentally,
his ink leaks over the surface, blotting the line
between what is her and what is outside.
After spending days and weeks and years researching Charles Darwin, the opening two lines of this poem came to me in a kind of sonic vision and I followed the poem from there.