From J.G. Heck’s 1851 Pictorial Archive of Nature and Science



Appendix:Illustrating the theory of twilight[Plate 6, Fig. 22. See also Plate 173, Fig. 54]


At twilight you do what you can, which is almost nothing.

                                                            -J. Anderson



Down in the reeds, farthest from God,

            where the vultures wash their feet,

is where I slept the night the dogs found

                        the wild boar, half-dead from a cancer,

and brought its head back to the yards.    I could not take it from them.

They were wild with its blood,

                        as if they had seen the one true vision

of light that comes after an animal

            is slaughtered in its sickness.

This is what I call the visible evidence

                        of the soul and do not try to convince me

that God has his way with us.

            I once saw vultures living in a house, in the cupboards, in the walls.

                        I came upon them along a creek,

the house abandoned for years,

            trees growing through its rooms,

jars still on the pantry shelves,

                        the smell of leaves long dead and rot in the guts of its floors.

            Three vultures rose through the ruin,

casual, lazy days in the intestines

                        and in the spirit and in the creek’s own mind.

How can I go back to my life with the gaze

            of those birds upon me? I refuse to say

I saw God in their faces, the gauze of twilight

                        around me told me this, and I believe it.

The dogs were waiting at the creek edge and I saw myself in their movements,

in the way they waited on every turn of my wrist.


is this that cannot live without a man to tell it death is close,

            stay near, do not leave me, you are all I have.









Appendix:Illustrating the resistance of the etherte, Fig. 26]



We were bred for slaughter

            is not exactly how I would say it.

More like Give the sheep a string of pheasant,

                        flaxen and damp, and walk away.

Let the birds tell them how it is we do not care.

            There are many ways. The one-eared lamb

I know will not take me back

                        but this is a story where lambs do not lead,

they wait in the horse-nettle and chickweed,

            in the bearberry—fat ale-wife of the creek—

all bound by sails in the wind pines made,

                        pale stubble-field gone to ash and cradle.