Wait a Minute, It’s Simple

As I chewed thoughtful fruit breakfast

Had three dilemmas in mind—

My young professor had become 91,

Two, those in charge had whacked us with an eternity challenge,

And three I had to make a visit to her

And was afraid because nearness to death,

Didn’t want to be near someone 91.

So that’s just two dilemmas isn’t it?

Consider, before we make our visit, eternity challenge.

It was a government-science dilemma.

Imperative to go far into space (well,

Just Mars, but that is far)

People upped to go and never return

A one-way ticket to Mars

Because distance and can’t sling gravity and money

That far to get back.  Water there

Enough to grow food, silicon etc. to build structures

But planned to live whole life to end

Before anybody find way to propel back

But must go because all citizens of Earth must go away eventually

And go on a budget.

Well eventually wasn’t my job though awful

For these volunteers I think

Couldn’t do anything so switched to dilemma one

And got mind straight re 91.

Frankly she used to flash in class absent-minded

Bright babe.  She let us sit wherever we wanted.

I rather liked hospitals, their cafeterias and guarantees

Of fixing you up, but Prof. 91

Still lived actively at home, shit.

I was nervous.

Suppose she asked for it!

Suppose she couldn’t remember the difference

Between aurora and aubade why I can’t either

Right now!  I would be duh.  She’d cry.

She would be unsatisfied and aggravated

In mind and body.

But this all was a projection as I ate my breakfast so

Relax.  Really for five hours we watched them blast off

And then float around, on her big screen TV and

I got plastered at her delicious dinner for two

And she drove me home and reached over

And opened the door, a clear signal to get out.

That was the whole day and then there was the next

With its aurora (dawn) and its aubade

(Appropriate Vivaldi morning music on my machine as I ate)

Which they had on Mars—their own dawn and plenty of recordings—

And so forth everybody and me day after day

As the sun gets closer and we run, third dilemma.



Arthur Vogelsang’s books of poetry are A Planet (Holt, 1983), Twentieth Century Women (University of Georgia Press, 1988), which was selected by John Ashbery for the Contemporary Poetry Series, Cities and Towns (University of Massachusetts Press, 1996), which received the Juniper Prize, Left Wing of a Bird (Sarabande, 2003), and Expedition: New & Selected Poems (Ashland Poetry Press, 2011), with numerous appearances in anthologies such as The Best American Poetry (Scribner), The Pushcart Prize, The New Breadloaf Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, and American Hybrid (W.W. Norton & Co.). He was an editor/publisher of The American Poetry Review from 1973-2006.  He has poems in recent or forthcoming issues of Boston Review, Gettysburg Review, The North American Review, The New Yorker, Poetry, Poetry Daily, and The Yale Review.


Issue #17 November 2012
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