Today there’s a generic name for what we see a molten green or ochre or scruff a plushness like couch or a simple calculation of Coronado and forest a location of saints of Ritas of some 30 miles southeast of Tucson where the generic turns to scrub jay the camera’s remnant a species of sparrow chickadee dog the far view like Cézanne in Italy a deeply gentle land my feet in the gravel where the ants smell my sandwich and crawl into my shoes
Today a generic search for Rosemont turns up an office and a stamp and a microscope a nod a hello a pocket of pens an office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service somewhere in a city with a forceps and a tray and a thin line of fluid where a tiny snail tries to crawl over the white gauze and out of a glass container the generic headline says that the Rosemont snail has been misidentified for something less classified and less endangered now simply a snail formerly known as the Rosemont talussnail the generic news says that research shows that the snail is actually the same as the more common Santa Rita talus snail thus killing a request to have it listed as a separate endangered species1 its stalky eyes turning on its long necky head to find some shade from the overhead lights some rocks a crevasse somewhere back in the dry stream bed from where it was plucked the snail formerly known as Rosemont has a genital gland located at the top of its shell to ensure production of both sperm and eggs a hermaphroditic duct or a gonopore on its head the snail formerly known as Rosemont has both a penis and a vagina and a special dart sac inside the vagina where the penis is stung to achieve arousal the snail formerly known as Rosemont has a vagina on the ventral surface of its foot2 now the snail formerly known as Rosemont has been formally placed in a jar and smothered by a generic search in an office with a stamp and a microscope a nod a hello a pocket of pens
Today I am barely shaded by the scruff of a mesquite my feet in the gravel I watch who may be formerly known as Brian with his torn t-shirt on his head and John in his running shorts and 14k t-shirt his pale legs exposed to the sun today who may be formerly known as Josh walks with the camera’s remnant in his eyes what may be formerly known as the Cienega Creek watershed where Kimi stares at a skin formerly known as cicada now singing with thousands so loud she covers her ears before the calls fade into the cottonwoods today I follow who may be formerly known as Eric the geographer and Wendy the cataloguer who may be formerly known as Mead keeping vigil for what may be formerly known as frogs and grasses today I hear what may be formerly known as a camper a ranger a little pup the privileged access of our car as entrance to these hills and high winds today we are being watched by what may be formerly known as jaguar here in the obsidian piles of what was formerly molten iron and ore miners today I see the sun was always harsh today I see there were humans here before the miners before the white of my friends traveling past the remnants of smelters and limestone today I see my grandfather in what was formerly known as a coal yard where he lived with my grandmother in the early part of the last century during a brief industrial moment and its subsequent wreckages on a river that caught fire where on another river I see the painter who was formerly know as Monet squinting through particles of coal soot and murky light to paint the Houses of Parliament over the Thames today a hole a mile wide and half-mile deep cannot be the same as what was formerly known as a spade of iron ore formerly known as mesquite formerly known as Cienega formerly known as jaguar formerly known as pale legs and torn t-shirt and bottle in the dirt formerly known as Rosemont a snail that can fuck and be fucked at the same time formerly known as a species always to be protected and desired
Samuel Ace is the author of three collections of poetry: NORMAL SEX, HOME IN THREE DAYS, DON’T WASH., and most recently STEALTH, with poet Maureen Seaton. He is a recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, two-time finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in Poetry, winner of the Astraea Lesbian Writer’s Fund Prize in Poetry, The Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction, and the Firecracker Alternative Book Award in poetry. He was also a 2012 finalist for the National Poetry Series. His work has been widely anthologized and has appeared in or is forthcoming from Ploughshares, Eoagh, Spiral Orb, The Prose Poem, Kenyon Review, Rhino, 3:am, Versal, Trickhouse, The Collagist, The Volta, Mandorla, Troubling the Line: Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, and others. He lives in Tucson, AZ, and Truth or Consequences, NM.