A man lies sleeping
or unconscious on the sidewalk while
a kneeling fireman checks his—what?
Breath, or pulse. His mechanisms.
He has some moving parts. Lungs expand
heart pumps and what is more mechanical
than a pump? Still there are questions
about brain function. These are vital signs--
maybe in the back
of the ambulance is one of those contraptions--
metal disks with wires yellow green
stick them on your head it makes a ticker tape
of how your brain arcs little sparks
between cells of the tissue packed in your skull.
That’s how you make a fist or blow a kiss. Signals
travel on pathways trafficking your impulses
branching to your extremities. Someone told us that
but it's pure horseshit. You have no idea
how you make a fist or blow a kiss
it's second nature,
it's just obvious.
Even the foremost neurologist can’t tell us how
without resorting to a shrug.
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Poems from Other Days