Poetry Drawer: Definitions (On Naming Things) by Richard Helmling

That line, that grey smudge, in the sky—like a shadow of something moving out beyond the world
Was it a passing ship? A sail wide as limbo
The mind reels at the distances, knowing they can only be fiction, that only the self is real

Lost now (because a petrified forest is really just a field of rocks)
I sit down in the shadows of the palm fronds reaching over me with dagger fingers
What am I—but a sinking wetlands, methane-rich refuse rotting into usefulness?
Or really
I think I am the output of some formula—a reductive algorithm
Definitions slip through the cracks between their own words, eel-slick and mucosal
It’s June now, and this too must pass, this uncertainty
Things do, pass, always

 Richard Helmling is a teacher and writer living and working in El Paso, Texas.

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