Poetry

Plan to Be Ready

by
• 304 words

My intern swings a lantern through the swamp.
Bloodhounds on the track of the elusive mind map,
in our boat we nose over ghost orchids,
cull lucid proofs from the glamorous scuzz.
You could say, A = “It is raining.” B = “It is evening.”
Therefore, night’s towel’s monogram’s scuffed over.
A mildewy fume. Let’s act accordingly.

I, for one, have been making a list of lists to make.
I’m diagramming the alligators
gliding before and after me.
A Harvard logician sends me a message:
The propositional sentence A–>B
(or A implies B) at least captures
the same meaning as your imperative,

but Facebook’s code turns B) into a yellow smiley face
in sunglasses. I know enough
to know my slogan. Repeat mantra,
mantra, as we slide through the reeds.
But my intern and I, we’re floating wide, harnessed
to a tautology pulled taut as the world on a string,
stick-poking the stagnant fractions of the aftermath—

3/3, 4/4, it is, finally, what it is;
like that dreamboat HMS Tetragrammaton
we’re propelled by godly logic.
All-seeing walleyes haunt the waterline.
Now, before you say “aft agley,” before our raft’s capsized
or even smaller, my proposition for you
is Not {P and Not (P)}. Or, to put it another way,

what difference does it make
whether it’s Q loves P or P loves Q
etched in the permafrost, defining our circular era
for the air raids? But it’s too late.
I see you’ll never grasp what I’m not about to say.
Just follow my intern back to dry land—Ouroboros,
please show our visitors the way out.

This appeared in the September 2013 issue.

Linda Besner will publish a new book of poetry, Feel Happier in Nine Seconds, in 2017.