If you’ve never seen a squirrel skitter
across an electric wire, or a dove who waits,
you may not understand my twists of thought.
Let’s just say your daughter
turned 10 this week, or as I’ve learned
9 ones and 1 one, or 8 ones and 2 ones,
or 7 ones and 3 ones, you get the drift.
Ten is no longer just 10, it’s part of
a bigger, more susceptible fact family.
Math problems are no longer just problems;
they’re number bonds, multiplying
by integers of coughs and sneezes.
You may think the president raises his hand
because he has an important message,
is actually paying attention, wants to clarify a point.
On the ground, a shiny quarter,
its fat nosed profile taunting.
Do the math.
Corona-chameleon survives on metal
ships up to seventeen days.
1 one take away 1 one still equals zero,
zilch, nada, graveyard.
What else has gone sideways while I stood
staring at hay fields, and fencerows, bumblebees
and butterflies, flocks feeding?
Kari Gunter-Seymour’s newest collection, A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen, is forthcoming from Sheila-Na-Gig Editions in 2020. Her work can be found in many fine publications including Stirring, Still, Rattle, Crab Orchard Review, Main Street Rag, The American Journal of Poetry, and The LA Times, as well as on her website: http://www.karigunterseymourpoet.com. She is a retired instructor in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and Athens, Ohio Poet Laureate Emeritus.
Photograph by User:Mattes.