Now we sit and play with a tiny toy elephant that travels a taut string. Now we are used and use in turn each other. Our hats unravel and that in itself is tragic. To be lost. To have lost. Verbs like veritable engines pulling the train of thought forward. The hat is over- turned and out comes a rabbit. Out comes a man with a monocle. Out comes a Kaiser. Yikes, it's history, that ceiling comprised of recessed squares, each leg a lifeline, each lie a wife's leg. A pulled velvet cord rings a bell and everyone comes running to watch while a year plummets into the countdown of an open mouth. A loop of razor wire closes around the circumference of a shaken globe of snow. Yellowed newsprint with its watery text, a latticework of shadow thrown onto the clear screen of the prison wall. From a mere idea comes the twine that gives totality its name. What is a theory but a tentacle reaching for a wafer of reason. The inevitable gap tragic. Sure, tragic.
From The Eye Like a Strange Balloon, Poems by Mary Jo Bang. Copyright © 2004 by Mary Jo Bang. Published by Grove / Atlantic. Appears with permission of the author and Grove / Atlantic.