The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Dan Campion

US Patent 6,469, “Buoying Vessels Over Shoals”

Just out of reach is where inventions wait
for most of us. Our sixteenth president
was holder of a patent, but its fate
was swiftly to be judged irrelevant.
A sort of Mae West for a riverboat
in trouble, the device did not take off.
Most inspirations are of lesser note
even than his. They haven’t heft enough.
Or they are perfect answers but we fail
to pose the proper questions. Tinkerers
have met a need sometimes. But none avail
except in gross material affairs.
It wasn’t thwarted plans to tame a shoal
that rendered Lincoln inconsolable.

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