THE IMPOSSIBLE PROBLEM
BY LEAH FALK
Kurt Godel, 1930
Neither proved nor disproved:
neither seed heads dragged by the wind nor husks
fallen hard from their ripening;
neither the porcelain glazed and fired nor flaked
and dried, a scrounged skin, in its barrel;
neither the river that cooled the clay nor the hand
that printed it, pressing its double;
neither the watery kick that gives a girl
a great whale’s weightlessness—issue
as if from its sensitive cask, furious salt wine—
nor the stone stomach. Last meal
of anvils. Full lungs that, if lobbed across
a hot city yard, summer death mask, would burst
and relieve a boy’s fever.
Neither of these: witch or anchor,
Socrates or angel.
Only sorrowing through a tunnel of sleep.
A train of days, just flying.
An incomplete arithmetic: the problem
like a child’s painting of three trees. Two,
bushy spheres of leaves with fat trunks
guiding them toward both ground
and sky. The third, the third—
head only. And someone’s hurried blue
scrubbed between the land the tree had grown from
and the clouds it moved lately among.
Leah Falk is a poet who makes texts for the page and for performance. Her work has appeared in The Kenyon Review, FIELD, Smartish Pace, and other journals, and on stage at the University of British Columbia, NoExit Performance in Indianapolis, and at the School of Music at the University of Michigan. She lives in New York.
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