Dave Snyder is a poet and gardener. His poems and writings have appeared in the Colorado Review, Huffington Post, Best American Poetry and elsewhere. Dave has received fellowships and awards from the Illinois Arts Council, the Iowa Review, Writers @ Work, and the Jentel Artist Residency.
(first published in the Quarterly West)
Deciding was not the problem. Once named,
platypus would forever be a “platypus”; coati,
a “coati.” Instead, life’s abundance taxed his creativity.
Hunkered in a field, trap-jaw ants
running up his calves, he forgot acanthognathus
was reserved for an anglerfish. In the same way
did aotus come to mean both golden pea and owl monkey,
colocasia, tussock moth and taro.
But once entitled, the creature became its lable: a cecropia moth was
a “cecropia”, exactly. So if cecropia also meant mulberry,
he thought, watching one tremble in the breeze, a moth
must be a tree. That wild rosemary, a beetle. He stood,
anglerfish flopping off his legs, to see bluegrass
swarm the grazing bats.
A tuna lumbered by.