Matthew Olzmann: My Favorite Tin Foil Hat

In a field of snow, it’s a legitimate option to see
the tracks made by the myth but never
the myth itself.  There’s nothing there.

No mysterious creature to ravage the livestock,
assign paw prints to the barn doors,
or claw marks to the black walnut trees.

The ghost that sings of lost love from across the lake?
That sound can be explained by barometric pressure,
the north wind, numbers on spreadsheets
that bear no resemblance to the voices of the drowned.

There’s no mandate that requires you to inquire
about the fate of [redacted] or the nature of [deleted].

The lights above the desert are just rips
in the veil through which, I’m sure,
a rational explanation will soon emerge.

Already, most of my neighbors have figured this out:
the secret to avoiding cosmic abductions
and mind control and weeping statues.

To dream rationally. To die without wonder. 
To see a falling star plummet from its far
outpost in the sky, and be certain

it’s no seraphim struck from heaven, no
messenger from some newfangled
corner of the galaxy. To know for sure, that body—

torched by the atmosphere and disintegrating
while throwing sparks all across
the sky for you—is only a stone. 


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