Today's poem is by Bryan Penberthy


Nervous mathematicians—they could be proving
anything up there: that the moon is
a placid moth, unbothered by their awkward
machinations; that the earth is a checkerboard of
sorry, dumb luck; that the grids they plot, their
blind parabolas, are a web, a net, some
kind of snare for trapping wind or
bugs or something else. Some say they’ve
got their legends too, of bats that could almost break

the sound barrier; that could scratch the dark
like a china plate. There could even
be stories about one that gave up the flight-driven life
of snatching iridescent jewels from air,
surrendered his love of charting
the spaces between the small bodies
darting across the sky’s dim facade, and became human,
never again slept all day, learned colors. His life is less
restless now
they squeak, then dive.

Copyright © 2007 Bryan Penberthy All rights reserved
from Lucktown
The National Poetry Review Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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