Photo by Immo Wegmann / Unsplash

The Biologist

Poetry Jun 9, 2024

by Miranda Lawson

At night I cradle my little book and document the species of loss.
It’s a diverse genus, you know:

small things, lithe and writhing,
nest in the ruins of vacation flings—sand castles
smoothed over by hands that have grown
too large, too far to mark the fingerprints—
her face stretches
above clouded memories, and the small things fold
in fleshy ribbons between the gaps.

megafauna plod through backgrounds of my life,
chewing our photographs till they grow soft
like mulch, soft like mothy couch cushions, soft like falling
down and down into the rhythm of the hairbrush
I drew through my daughter’s pain and mine.
the beast blinks; I catch my snarled reflection in its eye
and reach for the hairbrush in the bottom of a drawer that is not there.

today, a new specimen skittered out of my shower:
family paguroidea, cousin to the hermit crab,
chitinous rogue living off scraps of names and bodies
we have sloughed off into the rain like a muddy t-shirt
or a mother’s phone call.
the things which no longer serve us swerve atop its many legs.
when they fall —or are swept away— they smear the pavement
but at least they are underfoot.

At night I cradle my little book and ponder the species of loss.
Between the entries, I write my name.

Miranda “Mir” Lawson (they/she) loves using whimsical, surreal, and sometimes
gruesome stories to unearth everyday truths. They fill their days at Lawrence with bright colors and even brighter friends who encourage her to constantly create.