By Fred Pollack
The nurses have just administered
various painful ablutions and
injections when the chief of my doctors
(but does anyone but me
perceive that hierarchy?) rushes in.
Barely able to see him, I imagine
(being always on the lookout
for dare I say hope?) his transcendent expression,
and ask, “Has someone transplanted
a central nervous system? Have nano-explosives
for the deepest tumors emerged from the corporate pipeline,
or a 3D-printed liver?” “No,” he replies
with swiftly inserted sadness.
“But the cosmologists have determined
the universe as a whole has only two
dimensions! This solves major problems in string theory.
The third is an illusion we project.”
I share his excitement. Am reluctant, however,
to apply the new finding to
my wife, displaced by the nurses and
asleep in the corridor –
she must remain round and whole. But other things
become instantly simpler, questions
dissolve. My childhood was Dürer etchings.
Then the manga of midlife gave way
to what I should have started with: box house
with chimney, yellow sun, stick limbs.
The course of society
was a bold, developing cartoon;
intellect, like nature, a steady drive
towards minimalism. The bare, schematic arcs
of that early Mondrian tree were not branches
but birds (which I haven’t seen in a while),
departing or landing. I try to extend
my hand to the doc, to signal thanks, to say
If depth is gone, one need no longer drown,
but he too is a layer to peel
away. Farewell, old hologram … it’s been real.
Fred Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both Story Line Press; the former to be reissued by Red Hen Press. Two collections of shorter poems, A POVERTY OF WORDS, (Prolific Press, 2015) and LANDSCAPE WITH MUTANT (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018). Pollack has appeared in Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Magma (UK), Bateau, Fulcrum, Chiron Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, etc.