CONSCIOUS

. . .there is something that it is like to be a bat.
~Thomas Nagel

What is it like to be a swallow on a wire?
I gaze into the air, let go and float where insects hang.
I open my mouth to take one in.

What is it like in the earthy warmth
of a chipmunk hole, among nuts and seeds,
dirt and mold-smell clinging to my fur?

I am a wasp chewing an old fence post,
spitting out pulp to build the smothering nest
around my pampered and bloated queen,

a deer, my ears turned toward every whisper,
a porcupine shuffling through the forest, unconcerned.
Partridge–I am a great whirring, with open wings.

Horse eating wild apples and rolling in the dust.
Salamander trying to comprehend the road.
I am a bat.  I am a bat.  I think I am a bat.

No, Mary–imagination doesn’t count.
What is it like for a bat to be a bat,
a weasel to be itself, a whale,
the center of a swarm of bees.

Can you understand the limit of your mind?
Can you remember what it was like
to be a newborn human,
the undifferentiated world
sorting itself in your plastic brain?

Or do you even know what is it like to be you,
unconscious of nearly everything?

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