Dan Rosenberg


When only two ways to go.
The law of excluded middle:
x is or is not the case. As in,
Shannon descended the sun
or Shannon thrown open
the trap like a minaret.
Two mice in constant panic,
the same as two mice. Being
unforgivable Shannon removes
her dark glasses, dark in here,
sunless, night. Post-op mice
spinning wheels like thinking,
how many rotations per light bulb?
Energy from spinning, energy
from splitting or sticking together—
to cleave—Shannon bent
like a backdrop. One mouse
per fist a live performance:
Stage right, stage left, two
curtains closing. Shannon
squeaks cagey, licks a wet
metal ball. Or Shannon gloved,
needles and drugs. Smiling
teeth bright under red lights,
Shannon decapitated by curtain,
head rolling her left or mine.



Sometimes I welcome the apocalypse.
One last bright flash like a camera
before the universal redeye. With me
a mosquito could learn to clip his own
wings, dress in silks and pop
a top hat as if his many prism eyes
alternated black and white, real and fake,
and he lived in both worlds which explains
the legs, all the little redundancies
of a split life. I have two bodies: the one
you see and the one you do not see.
One I use for buying groceries, the other
for eating them. My private body likes
to play with light, it reflects itself
like photons are balls and I'm all I need
for catch. My secret body likes to attend
plays, peep shows, it is the one that starts
all those erections. It rides the bus
by the motor. Once my other body
was sleeping in bed and my private body
crept close. Its lips touched my dormant ear
and whispered the three words of separation.


These poems were written several years apart. "Splitting the Finite" is the older one. Around the time I wrote it, I was involved with a scientist named Shannon who worked with rodents (the furry kind). But "exeunt omnes" has nothing to do with her. Sorry Shannon. It's actually about my friend Cheryl, whose name was changed to protect her from the poem. Sorry Cheryl.