Michael Walsh: Queer Nature (2022, Autumn House Press) No rating

The Rock by Henri Cole

It's nice to have a lake to love me, which can see under all my disguises— where there is only animal survival and the brutality of the unconscious— and still love me and give me focus and intensity, like a robin listening to dirt for worms (those birds have talents I don't: flying around with one eye closed and half their brain asleep). Alone, I like to swim (with no goggles, cap, or board) out where I can see, high up, the white cedars, and beyond that only the della Robbia blue. On the other shore, a white pelican sits on a rock, and, sometimes, feeding him— beside the sign that says: DO NOT FEED THE PELICAN— I think about all the dogmas and traditions that are like well-made beds, with fitted sheets and tucked-in hospital corners, to die in. On my rock, it's as if everything is lit from below or from within. There's no hierarchy with pelican, water, rock, cedar, sky, and me. A sense that all's right with the world prevails here— and some kind of rock language, with crude dents pressing my flesh, and little fishes kissing my submerged feet.

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