Issue 70, Summer 1977
“Nebraska and Oklahoma have the longest contiguous border
Of any two states,” you announce.
Your hair stands up in corkscrews
Imparting the distracted air
Of a genius able to persuade anyone
That Nebraska and Oklahoma share a border
In spite of Kansas sitting in between.
I rushed to my atlas to check on this proximity.
My geography is faulty, a basic skill never properly acquired.
Like long division.
Never mind “contiguous” borders.
Let’s just get our states in order.
Our land masses organized. But this is not possible.
If I mention the Punjab, you embark upon the Humboldt Current
Which flows, to my knowledge, nowhere near Hindus.
A quirk of circuitry too brilliant to follow
Spirals you continents away
Like the cyclone that swallowed Kansas.
Our minds never meet when fact intervenes:
I know too few to counter the punctilious onslaught
Of your passion to misinform.
My only defense against your smooth wrong-headedness
Is to retreat to high ground, altering the terrain.
Esoteric facts, mostly unverifiable.
Are your slithery armies; a rude semblance
Of common sense is my recourse.
Outside this cerebral misalliance
We meet congenially, with the nearness of love, in Nebulae.