Oliver Rice



In the park behind the library

it is a pleasant afternoon.

Winona and her new friend Harmon,

a junior, on the debate team,

have taken a bench out of the sun.


Each has a pad and pencil.

They are drafting a postulation.

A proclamation. A manifesto.


It is true, they have concurred so far,

true that other premises may be true,

but it is tenable that all things,

all events or circumstances,

existing or conceivable,

excepting time and space,

issue from the primal matter;


tenable, as well, that each of the elements

is invested with traits that are invariable

and with a purpose and a will that are unrelenting,

including potentials for interaction with other elements;


and tenable, therefore, that the periodic table 

is profoundly, absolutely amoral.


They gaze, now, upon the habitat,

awaiting implication.


It is a thing of mysteries.

A thing of accretion.

Of signs and schematics,
lists and categories.

Of wedges and levers,
chisels and measures and cogs.


One day in 1933
Paul Klee returned to Bern,
bearing the proposition that his truth
lay hidden at the bottom of things.
Or in a dream.

One day in that year
John Cheever woke at Yaddo,
feeling at the bottom of something.


This must not be absurd.

Oliver Rice's poems have appeared widely in journals and anthologies in the United States, as well as Canada, Argentina, England, The Netherlands, Austria, Turkey, and India. His book of Poems, On Consenting to be a Man, is offered by Cyberwit, a diversified publishing house in the cultural capital Allahabad, India, and is available on Amazon. He was recently featured in Best of the Literary Journals. Go to escene.webdelsol.com.



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