On the Swede
How was life before Linnaeus?
We (each of you, you and me,
and the bodies that seemed
like us, how all of life does)
must have marched a different route.
We must have denied the species
its history, and the fortunes
their determinations. Before
we discovered we share things
in common, whether annihilations
of languages we cloak the globe in
or the ugly clothes we style
our bodies with so we don’t
go naked in that pristine fright,
we must have lived in each
a separate shrinking plane of being.