from Infinite Variations


by Marci Nelligan







Belief in various objects

led to resemblance

the mouth of the whale

or lower eye.


We cannot explain the world


various causes

construct for god

bodies in

one country

whilst in another

trees or bread.


The hand will strike

segments of a limb used solely for locomotion

its enemies will change to orchids—


through the occasional here

a mamma-blood apparatus

secretes nutritious fluid.


Mankind acquired reason

this should be this

and also that


closer and—all the more

a perfect mind.







Near the head

exists a close analogy—

the tail


before the eyes

plumes of birds,

teeth of certain lizards


under my thigh

your hand

in electric intervals

finally lost

its transition


spoken in the ears

as well as the cave

trees that were buried

now mature


the same country

put a field of organs

in manifest irritation


the land is old

and powerful


in defense of which

is something new







What would you give me

for four hundred years’ servitude—

count the stars, can you count them

connecting together

proceeding from north to south,

lowland to upland &c?



Your reward goes out

from your own body raised

only to the rank of doubtful species.


In  a parallel story

vultures descend

intercrossing “the species”

there was deep slumber-

fright and great darkness falling.


The sun changed

its intervals.

Many outlying islands

around a continent.


Structures.  Very small steps.


The children—



knew “affliction” had come.



E·ratio · Nelligan.pdf