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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mary Jo Bang
Mary Jo Bang
Mary Jo Bang's work has been chosen three times for inclusion in the Best American Poetry series...
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FURTHER READING
Poems About Science
Clonazepam
by Donald Dunbar
Costumes Exchanging Glances
by Mary Jo Bang
Dangerous Astronomy
by Sherman Alexie
On Reading a Child's Guide to Modern Physics
by W. H. Auden
Science
by Robert Kelly
Scientific Method
by Adam Clay
Sonnet—To Science
by Edgar Allan Poe
String Theory Sutra
by Brenda Hillman
The Horrid Voice of Science
by Vachel Lindsay
The Sciences Sing a Lullabye
by Albert Goldbarth
When I Heard the Learned Astronomer
by Walt Whitman
Related Prose
The World Anew: Mary Jo Bang and Jennifer K. Dick in Conversation
by Mary Jo Bang
Transcript: Mary Jo Bang in Conversation
by Mary Jo Bang
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Catastrophe Theory II

 
by Mary Jo Bang

The foot goes forward, yes.
Yet there are roots. And a giant orb
which focuses its cyclopic eye
on a moiré morning.
When the microcosm is dry—it's earth;
wet—it's water.

Water, reeds, electric eel: one possibility.
Sun, reeds, dust mote and mite: another.
Whatever the elements
(it's urban/it's pastoral,
it's empty/it's open), the theory says
it could always be worse.

Until it is. Then theory fails,
leaving a tracer mark.
From blood you come to blood
you go. Sudden things happen
inside a frame. A flame is
lit. Look

at those pathetic wiggly squiggles.
Inferno or garden?
An immeasurable distance
sizzles between them.
Watching it all. But taking so little in.
Just what will fit on the flat

of a glass lens. The ticker is hopeful.
Pathetic fallacy.
Look at the numbers move.
The mystery of ticks.
One per second, sixty per Mickey.
Four becomes ten, one in six

bombs falls in a bushel, a basket,
a two o'clock casket. Do you wish to stay
connected? The seen blurs
into the just heard. A bird outside the wide
open window. The warm day
of March. It changes. It has

all changed. The world
as a distracting disaster.
MY, what little SENSE you make, said the wolf
to Mary Jo. The theory rests
on a tipping point.
The clock steps in a direction.





Audio Clip
November, 2007
Washington University
From the Academy Audio Archive



From The Eye Like a Strange Balloon, Poems by Mary Jo Bang. Copyright © 2004 by Mary Jo Bang. Published by Grove / Atlantic. Appears with permission of the author and Grove / Atlantic.
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