souls

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Some Questions You Might Ask
by Mary Oliver

Is the soul solid, like iron?
Or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?
Who has it, and who doesn’t?
I keep looking around me.
The face of the moose is as sad
as the face of Jesus.
The swan opens her white wings slowly.
In the fall, the black bear carries leaves into the darkness.
One question leads to another.
Does it have a shape? Like an iceberg?
Like the eye of a hummingbird?
Does it have one lung, like the snake and the scallop?
Why should I have it, and not the anteater
who loves her children?
Why should I have it, and not the camel?
Come to think of it, what about the maple trees?
What about the blue iris?
What about all the little stones, sitting alone in the moonlight?
What about roses, and lemons, and their shining leaves?
What about the grass?

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Very Large Moth
by Craig Arnold
Your first thought when the light snaps on and the black wings
             clatter about the kitchen       is a bat
the clear part of  your mind considers rabies       the other part
             does not consider       knows only to startle
and cower away from the slap of  its wings       though it is soon
             clearly not a bat but a moth       and harmless
still you are shy of it       it clings to the hood of the stove
             not black but brown       its orange eyes sparkle
like televisions       its leg  joints are large enough to count
             how could you kill it       where would you hide the body
a creature so solid must have room for a soul
            and if  this is so       why not in a creature
half  its size       or half its size again       and so on
             down to the ants       clearly it must be saved
caught in a shopping bag and rushed to the front door
             afraid to crush it       feeling the plastic rattle
loosened into the night air       it batters the porch light
             throwing fitful shadows around the landing
That was a really big moth       is all you can say to the doorman
             who has watched your whole performance with a smile
the half-compassion and half-horror we feel for the creatures
             we want not to hurt       and prefer not to touch

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