by Peter Goldsworthy
Significance everywhere, you say, recalling
the day I smote my cheek against a wall
chasing a wide backhand, only hours
after threatening to punch you in the face.
Must all things be explained?
I mention the distribution of knife-wounds
seen once in a slab of flesh on a stainless sink,
or the pattern of tea-leaves glued inside these cups.
I even show you this poem so far, these images
selected by hunch and coin-flip: Exhibits A, B, D ...
Chaos gets on your nerves, you tell me, and besides,
it's obvious: this goes with this goes with this
and always will. Somewhere deep inside
the dangling seventh must resolve,
the laws of grammar will not be broke.
There are even numbers which predict
the swirling accidents of rising smoke,
or if there are not, scientific Americans
will soon discover them. We sit sipping tea
in silence. You scribble solutions in the margins
of Mathematical Games, I adjust my poem.
On a screen in a corner a dog dies, a child weeps.
Not true, you tease me. Never happened.
But knowledge is no cure, or escape.
Last updated February 21, 2023