Paul Guest

The Numbers Are Not In

The world is filled with those who want

someone else, just as the world

is split in halves, or hemispheres

if we want the word that says it

with a measure of beauty.  Most times,

we do.  But tonight, what

you get is halves.  Tonight

what you get is another unanswered

question.  Something like,

why do cyclones spin counter-clockwise

in this half of the world?

Something like my thoughts

in the shower, my body

washed by someone else,

and I’m thinking of dark matter,

not because my heart

on its haunches sits bleeding out

like last week’s roadkill possum,

its hateful mouth red raw,

but because dark matter is one more thing

I won’t ever understand.

No knowledge could I put on

that might plug the holes,

that might seal the chinks

through which my mind goes

after you.  When I read

the absurd science

of how we might one day upload our minds,

it’s Ted Williams

I’m thinking of:
his severed head

poorly cared for

in its Kelvin crypt of absolute zero,

now cracked, now

the Splendid Splinter even in death.

And it’s that wish

I’m thinking of,

to come back better

or new,

to walk out onto the pliant summers

of our best years

when we knew sex to be

as easy, as assured,

as breath.

Love, the dark

that waits holds

answers like a winning hand

and I’ve stopped

asking.  Whatever I know,

I build it as a bird

builds her fragile bowl of a nest.

And in that nest a bird sings.

Of course,

of course,

she sings to the yolk yellow world inside each blue egg

and for a time,

for as long as I can stand,

I listen.



“The Numbers Are Not In” first appeared in Passages North.