Poetry - Issue 06 | August 2009

Letter to Karla in Seattle

by Fredrick


Letter to Karla in Seattle

Dear Karla:  Discovering our niche
is why we are born. It didn’t surprise
me that you found yours in the texts
of data collections and in training
the human spirit to jump through hoops.

Those circles are doorways opening
onto the vastness of the human journey.
They remind me that the moon is also
round as the sun, just before it
dumps its last load of light and sets.

The sublime circle of life is a hoop.
Most of the great Indian tribes knew
this, long before Europeans learned
the dangers and sharp edges of believing
in only teleological heavens and hells.

Don’t fuss much with those who have yet
to submit to natural selection
and profit motives. Ask the bears
and squirrels. They know. Their stores
are rich with the merchandise of labor.

Go to the ants and bees. Those dances
they do on twigs and leaves are less
different from the signals on Wall Street
than you might imagine. All things
on the planet, including clams and trees,

work hard for a living. It is the way
of things. Creatures that own their own
homes always provide jobs and sustenance
for those around them. Take cave lions.
Who knows how many beetles and mice

make a good living in those caves.
Here on Decatur Street there are even
bats living in the eaves. What I like
about capitalism and private property
is that even groundhogs and hornets

Seem to know the rules. We should make
no apology. These are instincts older
than the germ of man. It is not by
accident oysters create beautiful pearls,
and not by chance are they always costly.


About the author

Fredrick Zydek is the author of eight collections of poetry and editor for Lone Willow Press. Formerly a professor of creative writing and theology at the University of Nebraska and later at the College of Saint Mary, his work has appeared in The Antioch Review, Cimarron Review, Nimrod, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. When he’s not writing or editing, he’s a gentleman farmer.

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