Pretend that I charge you
to name all the creatures,
great and small, leaf and limb,
so you can feel in control
of your outer world when
so much inside is unnamable.
Your numberless descendants
will count and classify
kingdoms they think they rule.
Dominion they will call it,
like one of their orders of angels.
Always with them
the orders and ranks
columns and rows
greater than and less than.
Until some learn—
that which is named is no longer itself.
Then will begin the unknowing.

Zetetic separator

—James Hannon is a psychotherapist in Massachusetts where he accompanies adolescents and adults recovering from mood disorders and addictions. His poems have appeared in Cold Mountain Review, Muddy River Poetry Review, and in Gathered: Contemporary Quaker Poets. His first collection, The Year I Learned the Backstroke, was published by Aldrich Press.

3 Responses

  1. Lisa Verdekal
    Lisa Verdekal
    at · Reply


  2. csheapoet
    at · Reply

    Great poem. Thank you!

  3. James Hannon
    James Hannon
    at · Reply

    Thank you both.

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