“A Few Questions Before We Go On” by Prartho Sereno

Prartho Sereno


Who gathered the straw and the twigs?
Who wove the nest and laid the egg
of this world? What patient one sat
and warmed it till it broke out in octopus
and chickadee, walrus and snake?

Who came up with all the comings and goings?
The breathing and eating. Sleeping
and waking. Who conjured the laugh?

Who thought up sex and where
we drop when we fall in?
Who dreamed the river of tears?

Who charmed the embryo’s polliwog body
to flower into elbows and ears?
Who jolted the heart to throb?
Who thought up growing old?

What melancholic dramatist chose loss
for every scene—tragic, comic, slice-of-life?
And who is it that can’t stop humming
as she sweeps up the stardust backstage?

from Rattle #61, Fall 2018


Prartho Sereno: “Thankfully my muse is a nag. I can’t go long in the numbing marketplace before she begins grouching, and if push comes to shove (i.e., I resist), she always wins, and off we go to the Redwood Forest or the Mendocino Cliffs or the Cabin by the Lake in Upstate New York. You could say I’m naggingly blessed.” (web)

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