Media Gallery

Kimiko Hahn is sometimes described as a “scientific” poet for her fascination with various flora and fauna (and fungi). If we expand the definition of the word “scientific” to also mean “meticulous” and “accurate,” her poems are certainly scientific, with their precise vocabulary, perfect amount of detail and information, and unexcessive yet expressive language. Her poems do not intend to be an encyclopedia nor remain simple snapshots of interesting glowing beings; they illuminate us on the creatures’ relation to the strangest and the most mysterious creature of all—the human. For this week’s Poetry Tuesday, we bring you four poems from Kimiko Hahn’s “Resplendent Slug” series.

—Emily Yoon






I know very well that fungi
are neither flora nor fauna but

wasn’t aware that some glow
or why the glow.

Scientists suspect an Australian one
possesses white light to attract insects

that help disperse its fungi spores
by rubbing off onto their wings.

A glowing case of exploitation–
though not as treacherous as home market,

Stockholm syndrome, or erogenous zone.





{Fungus Gnats}


Gnat larva glows with luciferin

to lure midge and moth that
when stuck to its bead curtain

are summarily yanked up.
Where bead curtains are concerned,

which is gnat and which is moth?
and was I on St. Marks

with a gang member turned tattoo artist

who knew better than to mess with me,
his trusted friend’s fiancée–

but what choice did he have
when I showed up at two a.m.
in a shimmering shift?

What choice does any male have when unfurling from pupa
he ceases to blaze

while the female surges
in her own imaginal phase.








The feelers dangle from its chin
and along the dragon-fish’s eel-like body

so, at night, swimming six thousand feet to the surface

the lights lure curiosity
from a sudden clearing

to the gingerbread house
where a hand has lighted the wick

for the wee ones.
If a fish eats a fish
is that cannibalism?






{Genus Swima Bombiviridis}


Tiny light organs blast off its head

when threatened. When I am threatened
I have no such ammunition.

that is not true:
I do possess apparatus for deterring

skank from crossing threshold
–a brilliance really

to expose the dark.




Kimiko Hahn is the author of eight previous books of poetry, including, most recently, Toxic Flora. She has won an American Book Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Theodore Roethke Award, and a Lila Wallace–Reader’s Digest Award. She lives in New York and teaches at Queens College, City University of New York.

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.