What nourishes the violets
before they tremble
open? What brushes
a burrowing snake,
the whittled secrets
on its tail? What kick
do we get from a pear
that balms us?
What is this tidy sienna
when we’ve requested
a fire-engine of geranium
and penstemon? What
sweeps the mountain
like a fickle sponge?
Who blames a circus
of cirrus? What is serious?
What beetle wanders
in this necklace?
What needs some ochre
in every ghost town?
What blossom balances
in a hollow ear?
What wrong tides
have loved us?
in the crabapple
has loved us?
What eye has held us?
Eating at the Pier
A scallop has two hundred eyes, and here I am
sticking a fork into one, my tongue
running over the soft groove where the cook
pulled the ligament, as I eye the serene green
backs of the Apostle Islands, hear what sounds like
a whooping crane. Some of us have guided cranes
with an ultralight a thousand miles back to their nests.
Sometimes we can be earnest in saving animals,
for even one to have babies. We recognize wildness
though not usually in ourselves. There are no verses
here for man or woman who’s boiled a live lobster.
Tonight the sky is so clear it will soon be irised with stars,
and we’ll immediately think of heaven, of eyes.
We’re civilized. Eyes watch us from the sky,
the tanks, the deep. I swallow another scallop,
maybe the last eyes I will ever eat.
These poems appear in Nancy Takacs’s new book Dearest Water, forthcoming in early 2022 from Mayapple Press. She has lived in the high-desert town of Wellington, Utah for many years, and spends time summers in Bayfield, Wisconsin, near the Apostle Island National Lakeshore,