Sunday, August 2, 2009


I head to India next week. I thought I should post a poem before I go that is appropriate to this blog.

for Coleen

A ruminant has four stomachs
like the four directions, four winds.

One, the rumen, is for thinking, chewing it over
separating the layers – liquid from solid
creating the bolus that goes, not once,
but repeatedly – coming and going
regurgitated, meditated, the cud thoroughly chewed
until it is thoughtfully digested.

The reticulum is the dilly bag of the system
honeycombed, latticed like a fishing net,
the cow carries about her grazings
sifting, sieving the cow’s colander
the net covers the mouth between
stomachs like a doily on a milk jug
the caul of the intestine.

A cow reads with her stomach
the leaves of the omasum flip
like the folios of a book
this stomach folds around time
her pages scored with the acid etched
memory of enzymes finding passage
through the wall like ghosts.

Finally, the abomasum, the second book,
the one after the first, its contents
digested in all the usual ways
that we monogastrics are familiar with,
it is from here that we take
our departure from the stomach.

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