Human Universals

Sara Michas-Martin


Selections from Donald E. Brown's Partial List

Even the casual citizen knows the self
as subject and object, and speaks
his personal name. You have ways
of backward seeing, a camera
maybe, mental maps and also
sidewalks, meal times, emerging
predictions. In-groups distinguished
from out-groups, there's gift-giving
and grieving, tool making and
sweets preferred. Problems to solve:
methods invented. Hairstyles. Turn-
taking. Folklore. Return
these items (grammar
hygienic care) to be refunded
completely. Flightless, in-range,
thumb-sucking—you've heard music
related in part to religious
activity and at some point,
have been tattled on, translated,
classified by color, condition
and inner state. You wish to contain
special speech for special
occasions and the vigilant safety
of someone. For 5 to 10 hours
sleep occurs, which you enter the way
a canoe slides into water. Continuous,
your breath is the wheel
turning you through the world.

Sara Michas-Martin's poems appear or are forthcoming in current issues of the APR, Bird Dog, FIELD, Forklift Ohio, jubilat, Pool and elsewhere. She is a former Stegner Fellow and Jones lecturer at Stanford and recently joined the BFA faculty at Goddard College.