Ken Lane, some rights reserved, CC BY NC ND
Ken Lane, some rights reserved, CC BY NC ND

A Rose

How can you run about
two minutes after you are born?
Be a horse, then you can discover
a valley, the taste of a mare’s nipple,
your coat moist with her 3‐year‐old blood.
In a dream set partly in a horse barn,
greenhouse, outdoors classroom, I thought
universe after universe is not here,
is out there, out there, there, there,
there, still going . . .
Here and a rose are within my reach,
visible without wise instruments.
Our earth and sun don’t matter an onion
to dark matter, places without address.
Justice is not done in the universe,
where the only evidence admissible is invisible
or with sweet deceiving countenance.
If all the world’s a stage, the players have stage fright.
Ding dong, the final doorbell is ringing.
(In Middle Scottish “ding” means worthy.)
Mr. Trouble won’t take his finger off
the button. I’m here, unmetaphorical.
No friend or Eurydice is like any other,
lost friends sometimes come as visitations.
Still I take up with string theory
or the rose‐by‐any‐other‐rose theory
that holds water.
A bee flew into a rose,
found darkness and silence there,
flew into another rose and another,
then bang, fires, everything.
Gravity and darkness are not dreary.
Mathematicians are heroes
who give meaning to numbers,
a wilderness of zeroes.
The thing about the cosmos
is what we cannot see is beautiful.
Not I, you and me is what I want to say.
My calling card is the periodic table.
I am thorium, the 90th element, silvery and black.
Protons, the cosmos, black holes,
white dwarfs are never gross.
Soon after the invention of the present tense
there was comparative and superlative,
so off we went to war. We breathe in and out:
the simple past came just like that.

We believed, needed to pray, invented talk,
writing to keep accounts,
although greeting by smelling, whining,
crying, howling, served us well.
We could say please, thank you, good morning
and good night, I love you, without a word.
A child asked me a question: “Back at the start,
bang!, cruel, kind, or no heart?”
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