number 16

twenty three pairs of chromosomes
split and dissected and analyzed
if you ask ten carpenters how to drive in a nail
you’ll get eleven different hammers
pointed at your head

what everyone has to remember
i remind myself
is that there is no such thing as

–thanks, heisenberg–

you might get an approximate sense
of your current direction
or a somewhat accurate assessment
of your current position
but you won’t get both, sister

number 14

i have cleaned the lenses
of my glasses
wiped until no dirt
no greasy fingerprint remains
and yet
after siding them back on
adjusting them so they are not skewed
sit neither too high nor too low
on the bridge of my nose
turned on the lights
but made sure the bulbs
were soft and warm
and never stared directly into the source
of the glow
and yet
nothing is clearer
or in focus

number 12

little steel is left in this blade
no more cuts through sinew
and no marks will its dulled edge leave
no shadows to be interpreted

and if by chance
it manages to wound
the blood it spills now
dribbles out
pale as water
too weak to leave a stain

flame enough in the candle
to cast a feeble glow
abundant illumination to see
the nothings hidden in corners
cobwebs filled with spider corpses
the flies too tired to fly
too dead to buzz
or reflect the light
in dazzling greens and blues

sheath the sword
in its rotting scabbard
and work up enough spit
for your fingers
to snuff the candle
so that the wick doesn’t have
the audacity to curl smoke
like a promise
like a memory

number 10

as a kid i had a billy blastoff toy astronaut
that ran on batteries

and the cool thing about billy
besides that fact that he looked ten
and owned a spaceship and a car
and walked like a robot
was you could sit him down
in a moon rover
and the car would drive
as if he were piloting it across
a lunar landscape

–but not in low-g slo-mo–

what really drove the car
was a gear shaft that
protruded from his plastic butt
providing proof of concept
for the arthur c. clarke quote

any sufficiently advanced technology
is indistinguishable from your ass