Runcible Spoon

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Hold the Lamp


I often wish I were a scientist.

But the place where math should be

in my brain is like a fallen roof

and walls shattered by a war

long past and seldom mentioned, but whose ruins

are never cleared away.


I’ve tried to make up for this weakness

by erecting a statue called Precision

and an oppressive state to match.

My police are always on the lookout

for dissidents whose unfeasible programs are,

on the right, feeling; on the left, correctness.


Poets at readings and parties often

avoid your eyes and mumble

to indicate immense spiritual power.

Scientists I’ve met at parties also

mumble, but smile. They do this

to apologize for power and are charming.