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The Vast Unknowing

CELEBRATE for Anais Nin

in the hills I learn the design
the lizard outside my door
has different markings each year the same tissue
flame terrorizes brush strips ravines
cleanses the small animal population
I mourn quail and rabbits I’ve fed
fire part of the plan

the wild cells baffling your armor
aspects of the scheme
stain them adjust the lens
see how they multiply
jewels blossoming in your marrow
these homely parasites will devour your high cheek
your graceful step child-woman air will disappear
I weep do not despair
we are one cell -- you I lizard rabbit quail

bequeath me your wigs
orange and yellow bobbed and fringed
I will comfort your falling hair

by Nancy Shiffrin
in The Vast Unknowing Infinity Publishing
first published in a slightly different form in
the Los Angeles Times 1981