Name Gourmand

                                                   Post Cove, Deep River


Arrow-arum, water purslane, and false 

     pimpernel are new to me now    

           that I live on a riverine tidal marsh.  


These plants grow about or in the cove 

    where, out with the tide and in, 

           the common mummichog and banded 


killifish swim. I imagine if I’ve seen a thing––

    golden club, sweet flag, reed canary grass––

           its name will spring to mind when 


I want it to, but the deep truth is I enjoy 

    the luscious touch of common names 

           about the roof and floor, teeth edge 


of my mouth––the salivate, sexy sensation––

    my way of kissing the ring of English 

           for having crowned me English-speaking. 


One evening last summer I spied the marsh 

    bellflower––dabs of blue amid chartreuse-

           bright wild rice sprigs––two yards from 


bursts of bur-marigold and rosy meadow rue, 

    and I’m still hunting for the uncommon 

           Hudson arrowhead, the cut-leaved 


water horehound. However did a plant get hound 

     in its name? But I don’t want a pause for 

           etymological dreaming to halt the susurrate 


and rattling runs of consonants, the shallow 

    and broad bellow of vowels, all that music 

           that, in trickles or rills or dips or blows, 


trips the switch of this or that synapse: 

    the Wernicke and Broca areas of my 

           cerebral cortex flaring up like hydrogen 


firestorms on the sun, my entire body 

    scintillate and quick with the gush-in, 

           flush-out, whisking blood. 


                                       from The Banquet: New & Selected Poems