The Endless 

The Endless
 by Timothy Donnelly

I saw a yellow butterfly
flying
in my opinion
the wrong way, flying across
the sound
to Connecticut

I saw a cormorant
oily-looking
flying
close to the sea’s surface
precisely
as I floated on it on

my back in
the attitude of the crucifixion
minerals in my body
in
conversation with
the minerals of the sea

about the sun
how can I possibly
add
to what’s already been said
so well
by the ancients

and said with
an austerity I’ll never
know
it is an honor to take
a backseat to the ancients
who knew how

I was a fat white fish
dissolving
under the sold-out stadium sun
like a god
but like a god
I could live through anything.

About This Poem

“I wrote the first three stanzas of ‘The Endless’ in my head while floating on my back with my eyes closed under the sun over Long Island Sound. I felt invincible. I left the water with the sense that the poem would end up taking off in an eco-theological direction, probably concluding with an indictment of human greed and destructiveness (or something like that). Later that night, when I started typing it up, the poem turned out to have other ambitions for itself, so I stepped out of the way and let it go where it wanted to.”
—Timothy Donnelly

Timothy Donnelly is the author of The Cloud Corporation (Wave Books, 2010). He is a poetry editor at Boston Review and chair of the writing program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. He lives in Brooklyn with his family.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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