In the Era of Collective Thought by Gary Fincke

From a hospital in Texas,
one hundred brains have vanished
and, as always, there are flurries
of posts suggesting suspects
from genius to sociopath.
Still unaccounted for, the brains
of the frequently concussed, those
in early dementia, those
whose last demand was suicide.
Tonight, after we lock our doors,
we speculate the thief lives
surrounded by so many brains
he cannot admit a guest.
That he must master home repair
or live among leaks and drafts
and dangerous wiring. All day,
we have seen nobody outside.
As if our isolation has been
perfected by the relentless work
of the brain-eating zombies
we are fond of discussing.
Cerebrum, cerebellum–
we recite our parts like beginners
in anatomy, counting down to
the constancy of medulla
while the underworld’s weather
loots the grid we rely upon.
Drought has master-minded
the overthrow of farming.
Rain is a hostage whose ransom
has been raised so high the sky
is unable to pay. Shut-ins,
we carry the memory of comfort
like a congenital hump.
Decisions made elsewhere are
hurtling toward us in rented trucks,
all of them explaining themselves
in a gibberish of slogans.

Gary Fincke’s latest collection, The Infinity Room, won the Wheelbarrow Books Prize for Established Poets (Michigan State, 2019). A collection of essays, The Darkness Call, won the Robert C. Jones Prize for Short Prose and was published by Pleiades Press in 2018.


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