“Until fractal geometry became organized, my life followed a fractal orbit.”
—Benoit B. Mandelbrot
On the night before your late birthday, it is always necessary
to suggest a sorrow to the deer about to lose its life
to the bow of a farmer’s daughter,
to the cauliflower sleeping sadly in aisles
in grocery stores across these states,
and to the mountains which are not cones,
but what you live for, after the astronomers name
a planet after you, after a fractal life.
After giving you
honorary membership in Ontario,
the United Mine Workers have all gone home
to their wives, the young boys in America
have all gone to die overseas.
On Soapography, two actors are discussing
everyone’s personal heaven, and in another room
you can hear a woman who is your dead mother
combing her hair in a doctor’s smock in a dream,
as you wait in your chair for something complete,
as you wait for that last instant message from God.
—Doug Martin (Vermillion County)
This poem first appeared in Indiana English.
Doug Martin’s poetry has appeared in the New York Quarterly, Double Room, elimae, Nimrod, Third Coast, and other publications. A former Theodore Morrison Scholar at the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, and a past poetry editor of the Mid-American Review, Martin has a book forthcoming on the corporate school movement in Indiana.