April 28, 2013
Late Night with Mandlebrot

“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.

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