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Michael Collins-III

The great, domed brow of Darwin                         

Is our basilica now. Watson’s, Crick’s

And Leakey’s works have seen

To it.  We’re left like cards in some super-slick


game—shuffled, cut, palmed, dealt—

Or picked from the pack by chance

And climate, by what Paris felt

In Helen’s city-breaking arms: the dance


Of possibilities–pure perfume

Of future days unquenchable

By death.  And if dangers loom

Round every joy, if risk makes a fable


Of every platinum-plated certainty,

It means we’re still our foreparents’

Species: our famines, our plenty

Are turns of their story.  Death relents


That much, letting language carry

Cultures far from their ends, far from tax

Codes and tilled fields: letting the root of all money,

All lies, and all good sex


Rig reality, and get our genes in the game;

Letting “I promise” evolve, and all the hyperbole

Of love, and 1000 struggles to teach dumb time

the name “God,” to knead, from time’s skin, eternity.




Wound in the double helix,

the future comes so near

one could almost twirl it on a stick

if it did not so fill one with fear.


Out of its aperture, quick as a glance,

Come market crashes, earthquakes, frail

Viruses that wreck populations. Chance

competes with will and wins. And the hard sell


stalls: peoples descended from God,  rebels

eager to cure history in some smokeroom,

find the future isn’t buying. The humble

dice in one’s hand then hold all of time,


all of heaven.  And poor reason, spent

as a convict running from the dogs, suddenly

grasps the Mystery, the wild current

drowning overturned heavens. Many


prefer then to dry their hands, box

up ambition and tell the stars, “sorry”.

They let alarm clocks replace the sun, let the fox-

mind that knew so many things bury


wanderlust and doubt in comely

Conformity.  Yet always some Darwin comes, game

for  changes, for  Galapogos rife with homely

revelations, for the same never to be the same.