by Tracy K. Smith
A species of tiny human has been discovered, which lived on the remote Indonesian island of Flores just 18,000 years ago. . . . Researchers have so far unearthed remains from eight individuals who were just one metre tall, with grapefruit-sized skulls. These astonishing little people . . . made tools, hunted tiny elephants and lived at the same time as modern humans who were colonizing the area.
—Nature, October 2004
Light: lifted, I stretch my brief body.
Color: blaze of day behind blank eyes.
Sound: birds stab greedy beaks
Into trunk and seed, spill husk
Onto the heap where my dreaming
And my loving live.
Every day I wake to this.
Tracks follow the heavy beasts
Back to where they huddle, herd.
Hunt: a dance against hunger.
Music: feast and fear.
This island becomes us.
Trees cap our sky. It rustles with delight
In a voice green as lust. Reptiles
Drag night from their tails,
Live by the dark. A rage of waves
Protects the horizon, which we would devour.
One day I want to dive in and drift,
Legs and arms wracked with danger.
Like a dark star. I want to last.
from Duende (Graywolf Press, 2007)
Tracy K. Smith is the 2016 winner of the Robert Creeley Award. The public is invited to see Ms. Smith receive her award and read from her work at the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School auditorium on March 29 at 7:30 p.m. Old Frog Pond Farm & Studio is a sponsor of this free community event. We hope to see you there!
Ms. Smith is the author of Life on Mars (Graywolf Press), which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2011; the memoir Ordinary Light (Knopf, 2015); and two other award-winning books of poetry, Duende and The Body's Question (Graywolf, 2002). She teaches at Princeton University.