Nina Corwin

Natural Selection

In a carved-up corner of the Amazon, an old gardener keeps her
cabbages and cucumbers apart. Shaking her head, she explains,
they will kill each other if given the chance.
A panel of scientists votes to strip Pluto of planetary status.
The grumbling opposition asks: how round is round?
In second grade, my best friend makes me clean her room. Boasting
friends in nether places, she threatens to hex me: a maggot meta-
morphosis if I refuse.
Pretty soon, belief becomes suspension bridge.
Not long after, I take Underdog, with his little white U and blue
cartoon cape, to be my psychic savior. In private, I stick pins in Polly
Purebred’s voodoo likeness.
Teeth bared, a pair of dogs grapples for the single bone between
them. The victor marks the hydrant of his choice.
Bullies of every stripe and paw print swagger through the eco-
system. The sniveling little guy bellies up.
I, too, have my hungers. The hunter-gatherer in me. The need to
name on the table of my tongue. The need need need.
Implanted at the base of my brain, my survivalist microchip is ticking.
Schools of turbines crop up across the plains to press the wind
into service. Involuntary conscription has already begun.

Nina Corwin
“Natural Selection” first appeared in Parthenon West Review, Issue 7 2009-2010.