Published on Academy of American Poets (


Our subjects were nice. We kept

our distance. We brewed detachment
in bottles. “We kept our distance”

is an anecdote. Her name

is Anecdote. She was born in the study.
Cages, bottles. Books all around.

She was our favorite / forbid us

to see her. She was the muse
for the bottles marked “Distance”

from which we drank. Could not

get by without. We buried the results;
they were dead. It was painless

for us. Thanks

to detachment. Our hypothesis held up
a snapshot. Braces, barrettes.


Copyright © 2015 by Melissa Ginsburg. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 2, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“‘Oversight’ uses the language of psychological experiments to talk about the ways our desire for knowledge can obfuscate reality. The speakers here are imaginary scientists. They are worried about objectivity, about what is truly knowable and provable. The human desire for facts might require an element of cruelty.”
Melissa Ginsburg


Melissa Ginsburg

Melissa Ginsburg grew up in Houston, Texas, and received her BA in English from the University of Houston and her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is the author of the poetry collection Dear Weather Ghost (Four Way Books, 2013). She teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Mississippi and lives in Oxford, Mississippi.

Date Published: 2015-07-02

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