Link by link the rusted chain releases as morning begins to warm the enclosure where psychotria, ficus and euphorbiaceae transpire. This is the experimental world under glass, space frame white as starlight glass mottled with what rain prolonged drought will allow in our desert out there but in here . . . clank clank. . . the links of rusted chain release adjusting to atmospheric pressure that rises and falls with the sun three acres of manufactured world oh little planet of ingenuity and audacious hope where a botanist might spend nine months keying and counting and naming every plant in the tropical forest where the sandbox tree disperses seed by exploding its fruit into space where the marine biologist might put 10,000 red hermits into the ocean to clean out brown algae. Oh little planet. . . clack clack the experiment breathes and drips and disperses data into the throat of the future. Link by link this organ becomes organism no artifice hidden: the technosphere a complexity underpinning and overriding the random. Clack clack. . . the diaphragm rises link by link the building listens to itself breathe.
Alison Hawthorne Deming, Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Arizona, is author of four poetry books, including Rope (Penguin 2009), and four books of nonfiction, including Writing the Sacred Into the Real and Zoologies (forthcoming from Milkweed Editions). She’s received the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bayer Award in Science Writing. Her poems and prose have been widely anthologized, including in The Norton Book of Nature Writing and Best American Science and Nature Writing.