Not only every human but every leopard

had a soul and every antelope.


The cobra had a soul, and its venom,

and every sloughed skin.


The parrot had a soul, and its eggs

and broken shells had souls,


and a soul for the speck of pinfeather

stuck in dried albumen, and for the nest.


Palm trees had souls,

and souls for roots and fallen coconuts,


and dead fronds knocked down

were alive with souls, on sand


that gleamed with a soul for every grain,

and a separate soul for each pebble, each shell.


A droplet of cold rain had a soul,

and each flame of fire and each ash,


and the monsoon wind

that blew centuries apart


into electrons and neutrinos humming

with innumerable splintering souls.

[published in The Rialto]