This poem has no intention of changing the world
or even moving it one iota. For that you need
a more exact science: aeronautics, civil engineering.
You need plenty of expertise, money, management,
countless nights redrafting plans in the lonely grove
of your cubicle. While you calculate angles, calibrate
cross-shafts and supporting structures, your wife
has fallen away into slumber; your dog, beguiled by
the slow wheeling of the moon on its careless axis.
This is serious work. What do poems know about
the imperatives of balance and stress, the calculus
of load-bearing metres? This one spent its childhood
dissecting sonnets, while you grazed, in the class
next door, on vast plains of lines and numbers.
While you struggled with compass and slide rule,
it was dividing dactyls from iambs, dreaming of
wild rivers, airborne castles, towers kissing sky.
Not for you, whose shoulder is to the hard stone
of this life, whose idea of sleep is one long dull
ache in the back of the neck you cannot reach.
But you are almost done. You check the figures
one last time, as the poem watches, innumerate
and invisible. As you finish for the night, gifting
schematics to the unmagical gloom; straight
lines on paper that will one day become a bridge,
a skyscraper, a lighter-than-air miracle.