Companions usually assume that my expertise

includes the names of trees and bushes

and flowering plants lining our path,

of birds in the sky and fossils in the rocks.

But I’ve never been good at the naming of things.

Ask me how the plant communicates

with the bird over varying spans of time,

of change of seasons and eons,

how bacteria nurture the roots

and leaves are shaped by fractal geometry,

how some trees adapt to fire

and others to flood, how grief is felt

the same in any language, and the many names

of the moon do not change its face,

how distance is just as easily measured by time

as changing position, and each of us

merely flow through this time and space

as waves of probability buffeted by every chance

encounter. How my most egregious failing

is that while I never forget a face

I struggle to remember names.


Bradley Earle Hoge’s poems appear in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Chronogram, Rattle, Tertulia, Stickman Review, Tonapah la, entelechy: mind and culture, and Tar Wolf Review. His chapbooks have been published by KattyWompus Press, Red Berry Editions, and Plain View Press. He is the managing editor of Dark Matter: A Journal of Speculative Literature. Bradley lives in Spring, TX with his wife and three children.  He teaches natural science at the University of Houston – Downtown.