Agassiz’s Desert Tortoise

“hommage d’admiration et d’amitié”

Having perused Mill’s On Liberty
……….a page every season or two
for the past forty years, taking that dullest
……….and most sluggish
of commodities, his time, knowing the hour
……….required to stump
past a thing bends toward death,
……….and that the saguaro,
which never grows arms
……….before its sixth decade,
might declaim an ode in rough Sapphics
……….to the necessity
of submitting to the hostile, however
……….loving, place where you have to die,
this Einstein declares that time is space,
……….since even a beast
imperturbable most days, venturing out in the rare
……….rains that threaten to make
the desert a flower show, and who generally
……….appears an unprepossessing
hunk of conglomerate, often possesses a home
……….address among alluvial fans.
Prone to biting the shell of his desired, able to drink
……….after rains until almost
half again his dry weight, he dedicates his studies
……….to the “beloved and deplored memory.”
Things happen slowly, if they happen at all.

William Logan

William Logan

William Logan's most recent books are Rift of Light, poems (Penguin, 2017), and Dickinson's Nerves, Frost's Woods, essays (Columbia University Press, 2018).He lives in Gainesville, Florida, and Cambridge, England.
William Logan

Latest posts by William Logan (see all)

Author: William Logan

William Logan's most recent books are Rift of Light, poems (Penguin, 2017), and Dickinson's Nerves, Frost's Woods, essays (Columbia University Press, 2018). He lives in Gainesville, Florida, and Cambridge, England.