Saturday, March 8, 2008

From Natural History, by Dan Chiasson

XII. Pliny (II)

I became a tiny eye to see into the eye of a sparrow,
a cricket's eye, a baby's eye; when I looked

at the night sky, I made my eye as big as history, for
the night sky is a kaleidoscope of past times,

as noted astronomer Carl Sagan said. I watched TV and
made my eye a TV: lidless, rash gazer at whatever happens,

casting shadows of what happens for the neighbors,
whose eyes are the size of windows, my windows, and sharpen

their sight to voluptuous desire, voyeur voyeur
pants on fire. Anything half-seen becomes what's on,

becomes the neighbor's newscast, lotto drawing, rerun.
How do you know a child has died except by watching

trays of casseroles brought in, the old sit-down,
peoples' bodies doing as bodies will against the wall?

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