Lately, I've Taken To

guessing a lot,
            chiefly in
the auditory realm, where I
       am less and less

acute, which leads to masses
            of amusement
on the home front—Mom
       in orbit!—and what must

by now approximate
            a twenty-point
drop in the quotient we call
       IQ.

Endearing’s not my
            strong suit
but I’ll take what I can get.
       Forty percent

is what I thought I heard
            tonight but
surely that’s not possible? All
       that ozone lost?

A single Arctic winter? I
            had thought
those were the healing months
       for snowpack, but it

seems the stratospheric ice
            does something
with the sunlight that’s inim-
       ical. Unfriendly

in the long run to the cold.
            So cold
against itself. Which we
       have done. Which, if

I may compare great things to
            small, is what
my doctor thinks may be
       the trouble with my ear:

by-blow of the larger,
            chronic
proneness to construe what might
       have been benign

as something to be fought.
            So malleus,
stapes, hammer and tongs. I’ve
       seen the enemy and he …

etc. On an island in
            the Tyrifjord
in Norway several days ago,
       a man who said

he’d come for their protection
            and, what’s
worse, who with a not-before-un-
       heard-of-in-the-history-

of-the-world excuse for
            logic really
thought that was the case,
       hunted down and shot

as many people as he could.
            Obsession
at the barricades, which when
       it goes wrong in the body

we label as autoimmune.
            The body ingenious.
Body so resilient he
       chose soft-point bullets

to better his odds. At least,
            said the girl in the
newscast, he was one

       of us, and everyone knew

exactly what she meant.

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Linda Gregerson’s most recent collection is The Selvage (2012).

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