“It’s Complicated”

Catherine Stearns

If you mean like the toxic material
coming down from the high plateau
in dense clouds that will change
the earth forever, or like the dark matter

in the plane of the Milky Way
that triggered the asteroid, perforce
the extinction of those creatures
I would have had to imagine

otherwise, reptiles as real as you
turning toward the feathery clouds
and away from the curve
of my eyeballs: one last sip

of your lizard hips,
the color of your wing—
you can’t bag it
if you haven’t dreamed it, right?—

or if you mean words, a name
once folded together with everlastingness
now blotted out in fury,
well, yes, complicated.

Catherine Stearns is writer-in-residence at The Roxbury Latin School in Boston. She is the author of the chapbook Then & Again.
Originally published:
July 1, 2019

Featured

Conversations

Emily Ogden and Dana Spiotta

Reckoning with middle age and complicity
Emily Ogden
and
Dana Spiotta

The Stakes of Dictee

An introduction to a famously difficult work
Ken Chen

Theater of Shame

The rise of online humiliation
Charlie Tyson

You Might Also Like

Two Views of Home

Catherine Stearns


Subscribe

New perspectives, enduring writing. Subscribe to The Yale Review and receive four beautiful print issues per year.
Subscribe