continuing obsession with discovering the startling, exact image to capture a luminous moment in the natural world. In "State of the Planet," one of the long, ambitious poems included in this book, the poet sees a schoolgirl with a "red satchel on her quite straight back" crossing a street while a windstorm blows around her. In a typical leap, he imagines a science book in her bag, or things she might have collected. And since family and work have brought him to our state regularly, we even get to feel a proprietary pride in a local image:
| If she lived in Michigan or the Ukraine, |
She'd find, washed up on the beach in a storm like this
Limestone fossils of Devonian coral. She could study
The faint white markings: she might have to lick the stone
To see them if the wind was drying the pale surface
Even as she held it, to bring back the picture of what life
Looked like forty million years ago: a honeycomb with mouths.