The title “Amoeba bag” was a google search that I used to find the Amoeba record store “What’s in my bag?” video series, in which musicians talk about what they bought on their visit. When I looked at the phrase on its own, it seemed like a good description of what it feels like to be in a body built of microbes and detritus. It feels like it gets at how a person is not necessarily one unified organism but a complex system of organisms at various scales in communication and in varying forms of growth and decay within the same environment.
Staring at the polished spirals of an antique miasma, I was felled from failing to gasp convincingly at the clouds. The foam from this storm was predicated on a sigh. Like a zone that was lanced into the peat of a grave, I graphed its elements for sympathetic gravel. Some moss spent all year longing for the cliffs, but how to clone enough rain to revive, how to hold a ram in your yarn until the tiny beast unboxes its breath? Watching moths fly is not the same as inventing sight was the wrong lesson to learn, I kept learning. I was trying to see how smallness is built from competing seedlings when I felt I had made my first descent. If I am only an amoeba bag now it is because of the bugs I brought with me.
Eric Baus is the author of four books of poetry, most recently The Tranquilized Tongue (City Lights, 2014). A new book, How I Became a Hum is forthcoming from Octopus Books next year. He teaches in the new Regis University Mile High Low-Residency MFA Program in Denver and is a poet-in-residence at The Home School.