Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Found Poem

after information received in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 4 v 86

The population center of the USA
Has shifted to Potosi, in Missouri.

The calculation employed by authorities
In arriving at this dislocation assumes

That the country is a geometric plane,
Perfectly flat, and that every citizen,

Including those in Alaska and Hawaii
And the District of Columbia, weighs the same;

So that, given these simple presuppositions,
The entire bulk and spread of all the people

Should theoretically balance on the point
Of a needle under Potosi in Missouri

Where no one is residing nowadays
But the watchman over an abandoned mine

Whence the company got the lead out and left.
"It gets pretty lonely here," he says, "at night."

Credit


From War Stories by Howard Nemerov, published by the University of Chicago Press. Copyright © 1987 by Howard Nemerov. Reprinted with the permission of Margaret Nemerov. All rights reserved.

Author


Howard Nemerov

Born on February 29, 1920 in New York, New York, Howard Nemerov displayed an early interest in the arts, as did his younger sister, the photographer Diane Arbus.

Date Published: 1987-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/found-poem