American Life in Poetry: Column 058


A worm in an apple, a maggot in a bone, a person in the world.
What might seem an odd assortment
of creatures is beautifully
interrelated by the Massachusetts
poet Pat Schneider.
Her poem suggests that each living thing
is richly awake to its
own particular, limited world.

There Is Another Way

There is another way to enter an apple:
a worm's way.
The small, round door
closes behind her. The world
and all its necessities
ripen around her like a room.

In the sweet marrow of a bone,
the maggot does not remember
the wingspread
of the mother, the green
shine of her body, nor even
the last breath of the dying deer.

I, too, have forgotten
how I came here, breathing
this sweet wind, drinking rain,
encased by the limits
of what I can imagine
and by a husk of stars.

Reprinted from "Another River: New and Selected
Amherst Writers & Artists Press, 2005, by
permission of the
author. First printed in "Kalliope",
Vol. XII, No. 1, 1989.
Copyright (c) 2004 by Pat Schneider.
This weekly column
is supported by The Poetry Foundation,
The Library of Congress,
and the Department of English at
the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
This column does not
accept unsolicited poetry.