Hostage Situation

Wherever I turn, sparrows flash on pillars of air,
And bewitching women poise in high windows;
What can a person do in response to such abundance?
Darwin played the trombone to his French beans,
And Diogenes tried to refute it by getting up and walking away,
But once you’ve divided one into two,
You’re in for it—whales clicking, long nights
Bright with cash, paper carnations in a jam jar…
Why would you stop?
The tender snow falls, flake after flake,
The sun sinks in the west, two ears
And there’s a rabbit…it all adds up.
Then, suddenly, there are three. Three ears.


I was puzzling about this while listening to a preacher on the radio
Explain the Soul Conjecture—that small parts, the souls, of a geometrical figure
Can be used to to deduce the whole.
He said God
Can be deduced in this very same way,
And this thought, about small parts of God,
Has been drifting through my mind like second hand smoke,
Preacher smoke.
He went on to say that if you can imagine your own death,
It is equivalent to knowing God,
That you feel a concealed logic moment by moment,
Ruling existence
Even as you lack the essential clue to understand it,
After which the business of the three ears is no longer a problem.

Peter Schireson’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in Post Road, Quiddity, Hotel Amerika, Arts & Letters, Painted Bride Quarterly, Pleiades, and other journals. His chapbook, The Welter of Me & You, won the Coal Hill 2013 Chapbook Prize. He lives in California and is currently an MFA candidate at Warren Wilson College.