Theories of Nature

Theories of Nature

Let me tell you this bright and
twisting thing. The natural world dictates

letters for its secretary
to transcribe, just as the squirrel

with the white ears takes pains to
pivot on its upstage leg, and a robin

turns sideways to imitate Alfred
Hitchcock in a cameo: I Confess.

Auteur theory is for the birds and as
curved and worn as driftwood.

Transcendence is as big as life and
twice as unnatural, if you’ll pardon

my saying, my gelid eye.
Backlash your I before you eyelash

your back. Once more with feeling:
your transcendence is none of my

beeswax. Uncertainty’s a gateway
drug; soon you’re mainlining

anodyne. If you doubt realness, try this.
Shimmy up a tree. Now fall out.

Concrete is the great leveller;
there’s no placebo like it. Tell me

what you ate for breakfast because eggs
are the central metaphors I can’t make

work, though I’ll concede
with the best birdwatchers

that boredom is the most
important meal of the day.

Painting by Ann-Marie Brown showing a tree partially submerged in water.

Arbutus Reaching by Ann-Marie Brown

About Tanis MacDonald

Tanis MacDonald is the author of six books of poetry and essays, including Out of Line: Daring to Be an Artist Outside the Big City (Wolsak and Wynn 2018). Her fourth book of poetry, Mobile, was longlisted for the Toronto Book Award in 2020. In 2021, Tanis won the Open Season Award (CNF) in The Malahat Review for her personal essay "Mondegreen Girls." Her work has appeared recently in The Goose, The Fiddlehead and Hamilton Arts & Letters, and in the anthologies Far Villages and Best Canadian Poetry 2020. Tanis lives in Waterloo, Ontario.

About Ann-Marie Brown

Ann-Marie Brown is a Canadian artist working on the west coast of BC in a house she shares with her husband, son, dog, and the occasional bear. Her oil and encaustic paintings have been exhibited across the United States and Canada, and have found their way into public, private, and corporate collections.

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