By Sylvia Gindick 




Darwin wrote in his margins 

that evolution is structured not so much 

as a tree but a coral reef. 

As a mollusk secretes its spiral shell,

I learn to tear a hole in time 

and stay there. “Where did you go,” 

two people ask me in the same day. 

I want to tell them 

that the unconditional does not exist. 

Not even deep in the oceans 

or far out in space. But I catch myself. 

The unconditional may be a decision

made under the right conditions. 

Like the first organism the sun beat 

into being, the first one to decide

to stretch, to feed, to nurse its young.

There may have been something 

unconditional about that.

I absorb through my surfaces, like the mollusk, 

and like the mollusk, I’ve been in love.

We’ve been there for four billion years.

Sylvia Gindick is a writer based in New York where she is earning her MFA in Poetry at Columbia University.