R. S. Armstrong



In the languageless space it is after dark today.
I count what I need on two hands.
We had the best time—it was the best time:
Watching for the snake in the water, the snake comes.
An image of ice is the sound of bone landing.
This is what we call seasons.

Having lived only a short time I trust that the rope
will hold. Having fallen already, I know it will not.

Calm now, the wind...I ask it a question.
I ask it look, don't you understand?
in That Tone. I get sent to my room.



I am not whining, Lord. I say, only
a little more, please and a little more.

Next door, the woman rails at her dogs:
Pee now and get up these stairs.

A little grumbling is good for the constitution
and non-repetitive talk helps with sleep trouble.

I don't think my abandonment complex
will activate over that, the unfastening.

(Did I repeat myself? Are you bored by me?
Am I allowed to go home if I fill out the survey?)

Dear Doctor, I don't know why you're keeping me here.
I've done what you asked, barked when you said to,

and now you won't let me go home.



to bank, to bonk, to whinny like a horse
to blow holes through
to chortle, to snort, to giggle
to laugh outloud (considered rude in most circumstances)

Still the illusion persists. It's just vibration,
the instruction manual says. See, read here:
in ever-widening circles, like ripples
in concentric rings on a body of water
after a stone is thrown.

to conquer, to yelp
(Joy closes its tiny fist and shakes it.)
to hold the position of x for a desired amount of time
(Following y out the axis, the volume and duration
may be marked where x is volume and y is time.)

I remember so little of it.
(to cross over, to grow stubborn, to echo,
to copy, to repeat, to transgress)

I was in love with you the whole time.

(to belabor, to dissuade)



1. Uses of Fractions

to make one wonder
to distance one's self
to wish for
to want (expression of)
to represent limitation
to close off an exit
to empty part-way
to leave ajar

2. Language of Fractions

if any/few
(distractions, for instance)
absent/in the same room as
touching lightly/pressed together

3. Subtraction, Multiplication, Division

the room loses an entrance

the body loses a hand

the person enters, leaving the door ajar

4. Different Names for the Same Fractional Number

a wish granted but only partially
(a wish made and partially granted)
"Don't leave now, it's only __o'clock"
"I must leave, it's already __o'clock"
a trick of memory
a way to avoid disaster/embarrassment



"The Best Time": Luckily, I am too big to get sent to my room anymore.

"Dear Doctor, Dear Lord": The woman next door in Rhode Island was very mean to her dogs.

"The Cause and Nature of Sound" & "Understanding Fractions": I collected a bunch of old filmstrips and every once in awhile I write a poem (based on a single filmstrip or a series of filmstrips) that is more interesting than the filmstrip itself though it may contain some of the same information.