“THERE’S NO THROUGH TRAIL” —HAN-SHAN, TRANSLATED BY GARY SNYDER
/ Two Poems

Two Poems

by Sarah Giragosian

Little Edie on Surviving Isolation

A Cento for a Pandemic

-For Sarah

It’s all a question of who you want to stay with.
          One needs a house to die in—
                    a beautiful house!

Mother will die and I’ll have to find another Libra
          to live with. Isn’t it terrible mother
                    isn’t a man? Of course, I’m mad

about animals, but raccoons and cats
          become a little bit boring after awhile.
                    I don’t know. Everybody wants a raccoon

nowadays—the most tame, loving animals.
          Of course, everything’s in the attic.
                    Everything from sloths, otters, badgers,

chipmunks. Aren’t we lucky? The hand of God
          struck at the right time. Thank God.
                    But that’s our one link to reality

in here. I play all the time. You have to do
          the same thing every day. We’re breathing
                    through a mask most of the time.

You have to have a lot of kimonos,
          a lot of costume changes. If I had the money,
                    I’d redecorate every single room. 

The Berlin Specimen

“In 1877, another specimen was discovered…known as the ‘Berlin Specimen’…the finest and most complete of all known Archaeopteryx fossils. It has been described as ‘the most important natural history specimen in existence’ because it so clearly demonstrates the evolutionary connection between dinosaurs and birds.”

-panel at the Museum of the Earth, Ithaca, NY

If there’s a saint of transitional species,
let me thank that dinosaur of miracles

for this limened beauty, forever moored
in rock, a bouquet of bones delicate as a magpie’s

but weaponized. Let this fossil be an icon of the in-
between, an ancient proof of the seam between

earth and sky filigreed with three-fingered claws
and bony tail, jawed with hypodermic-needle teeth

and wings like an angel’s. In the fount
of my mother’s belly, my body became a doubled-

over song, arpeggio of our origins: gill-
slitted, tailed, practically finned, as fluvial

as any other being. If we come into the world as such
and a fossil is a door to another world,

how can we not wish to emulate forever
the ripple in the rock that helixes into an other?

Sarah Giragosian

About Sarah Giragosian

Sarah Giragosian is the author of the poetry collections Queer Fish, a winner of the American Poetry Journal Book Prize (Dream Horse Press, 2017), and The Death Spiral (Black Lawrence Press, 2020). The craft anthology, Marbles on the Floor: How to Assemble a Book of Poems, which is co-edited by Sarah and Virginia Konchan, is forthcoming from The University of Akron Press. Sarah’s poems and essays have appeared in such journals as Orion, Ecotone, Tin House, and Prairie Schooner, among others. She teaches at the University at Albany-SUNY

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