Two poems from Henry Walters’ The Nature Thief
followed by a note on the author
Time’s continuous is what you’re taught.
Meanwhile a spider’s made traps of the irises.
The woods are full of these stories without plot.
I found a mushroom white as a dinner plate.
They say the edibles mimic the poisonous.
Time’s continual. Is what you’re taught
of any use at all? Somehow I forgot
the name of whatever’s doing in the honeybees.
The wards are full. This story has no plot:
new blights in the beeches, the ashes, the oaks. The rot
spreads night by night, whatever the disease.
Time’s contiguous is what. You’re taught
what your parents saw & spoke & thought
except they glossed (on purpose?) the pointlessness
the world’s so full of. Stories without plot
are what I want to hum when the light goes out
& the dark comes down between & over us.
Time discontinues, & all you’re taught
is words, words to make a story out of it.
King of Infinite Space
Not two inches tall, a conquistador’s horse,
stepping as high through his terrarium
as any life-size bronze in monument.
Hock-deep in moss, fern-shaded, he restores
the Old-World grandeur he’s imported from.
He’s there for illusion’s sake, is what I meant,
to scale the proportions. Maybe his Spaniard knows
how small the jungle is, how low the dome,
how the air, the heat, the gargantuan sweating plants,
are toys under glass in someone else’s room.
The marvel of it is he’d care to claim
dominion in such a country, dominance,
staked to his bit of earth as if he were
the flag of his own unnature, in miniature.
Henry Walters was born in Chicago in 1984 and grew up in Clinton, Michigan. After studying Latin and Greek as an undergraduate at Harvard University, he worked as a falconer in Ireland and a beekeeper in Sicily. His first book of poems, Field Guide A Tempo, was a finalist for the 2016 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His poems, essays, reviews, and translations have appeared in journals such as The Threepenny Review, Orion, Asymptote, and The Iowa Review Online. He lives in New Hampshire with his young family.
Lullaby first appeared in New Letters (86:4).
King of Infinite Space first appeared in The Yale Review (106:1) under the title
The Marvel of It Is.