This is an amazing book of complex connections between the natural world, people, pollution, and things. Cancer cells and ants act on in the same way, and according to their environment, with the same potential for destruction. The book is full of contrasts and interdependencies. The speaker's father is a nuclear scientist at Los Alamos; she is an environmental non-profit activist. The language is direct and effective; the connections fast and clever and unlimited. Buy here.
From "Shout at the Devil" a long prose poem:
. . . the weight of ants on the planet equals the weight of people, but that weight is distributed across many tiny bodies, making ants far more ubiquitous. Hölldobler and Wilson describe ants as "elegant and pitiless." After a combined eighty years of study, the two scientists concluded that ants are among the most rapacious and warlike of all animals: "The foreign policy of ants can be summed up as follows: restless aggression, territorial conquest, and genocidal annihilation of neighboring colonies whenever possible. If ants had nuclear weapons, they would probably end the world in a week."
From "You Were Born"
. . . There is / no other poem but this one, a heap / of broken images where the sun beats / on the dead trees and the dry stone gives / no sound of water, only / failure, from Latin "to trip, / dupe, deceive." Like fake. Is there no / other ending bu this one, the fucked up fail / of this war / way of being in the world? How should I know? I'm not / your sibyl / hanging out in a jar.
From "The things you loved"
. . . Think / the thing you loved so much / you conjured it in labs to live / inside the flesh of every animal to saturate / your own well-fatted flanks, king / of all creatures. So these / must be the names for things you loved / so much you peed on all the earth / and all its living things which you then ate / to concentrate its thickest doses inside / your pearl-white fat and rearrange your / DNA and gene expression: aldrin, dieldrin, DDT, / mire, toxaphene, and TCDD. Heptachlor, hexa / -chlorobenzene, and the PCBs nestled in your / genes with your and chrodecone and the hexa / -chlorocyclohexanes. The mark / of all you loved.