by Gilbert Allen

    1. Call it the blessing
    of willful blindness.
    We might as well
    tag each baby's head
    on the way out:
    to sharpen
    first narrow.

    And what can focus the mind
    like a tombstone? At least

    until you drop the forget-
    me-nots and remember
    the cosmic definition of topsoil:
    a series of unmarked graves.

    2. "Simply put," the doctor said,
    "it is the concentration of fluid
    in the eyeball, whereby it bursts
    under its own pressure.
    The nearsighted are especially
    at risk."

    Eyes dilated, I stumbled
    into the parking lot
    toward my car. Across the highway
    I saw a flatbed of old Volkswagens
    crumpled like a Nazi's idea
    of a layer cake.

    I remember thinking they weren't
    called concentration camps
    for nothing.

    3. The local radio station will give
    a hundred bucks to any listener
    who can speak for thirty seconds
    on a surprise topic
    without stopping. It takes

    for money to change hands.

    In three years nothing
    has been said
    worth repeating

    that I can recall, concentrate
    as I might.


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