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Page 142

The pen as sword, slashing script-shaped
slits in the page to let this darkness through,
this boundless night beyond the blank shade.

As kids we'd fold napkins elaborately,
make random cuts -- a crescent here, a triangle there --
then unfold them, careful of tearing, to reveal
design, 4-way or 6- or 8-way lacy symmetry
(depending on the fold), making art of random snips,
kaleidoscopic magic. This paper
has not been folded, but is, at least,
doubled, a minimal symmetry,

since, reader, you mirror it. How odd
that we are both on the same side
of this page. Lucky we are separated
by time, or we'd be an uncomfortable
crowd, not good company.

But time's a fragile lie, for I am right here
now, where you are, using your eyes
as you use them -- without, I hope, crowding you.

I've shifted metaphors a few times in this poem,
but so has physics. You and I CAN occupy
the same space at the same time. Hmmm...

excuse me, while I scratch our head.

Note: One tends to think of reader and author facing each other through the paper, from opposite sides, but reader (or readers) and writer are both facing the paper (or computer screen) from the same side. Unless you read through the paper, backwards. So here we are, as big a crowd of us as I have readers, all in the same place (if there were only one copy, if there were no time). No wonder our head feels crowded. Now let's resume time, so that it can come between us, but get it going in the right direction, because if we start going backwards, our literary efforts become a vast project whereby libraries full of printed material are converted to blank pages as part of the process of creating forests.

Re physics shifting metaphors – that's what happens when we have a "paradigm shift". It was probably one of Einstein's admirers who inspired the depression-era song when he gushed, "Brother, can you paradigm!"

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