by the numbers

for Derrida

10 a renegade scientist
noted on a blue pad
that in less time
than it takes to peel a raisin
the black hole
darker than africa
had swallowed
the sun

9 several hundred xeroxers
were employed
and soon the scientific world
rattled the universe
darker than africa
as it was contained
in the report
in their wagging hands

8 words
darker than africa
bounced on the white pages
of every newspaper
as we drove home
from your mother's anniversary dinner
and I said "oh science"
until in the driveway
you said "oh look
the greenhouse is flooded"

7 so the ferti1ity drug
failed to kick in
but we were certain
something momentous
had occurred in our history
even the poets
sang odes to the sky
darker than africa
and to the planetary scales

6 one after another
the gods vanished
first mercury then venus
then mars then jupiter
then saturn then uranus
then neptune then pluto
while our leaders
turned to each other
their expressions
darker than africa
and the earth
ran like hell
in its orbit

5 one freezing april night
darker than africa
you woke up
in stitches
so I asked
and you said "I have stopped
remembering the accident"

4 the very next morning
the editorial read "today
threads the clouds
and tomorrow"

3 after all the planets
had blinked out
the renegade scientist
was locked up
darker than africa
for the rest of his life
and a new report was issued
which we all read
and the sun was song
and the planets
returned to their places
like notes on a scale

2 we decided
to replace
the greenhouse
with a swimming pool
whose bottom was
darker than africa

1 the blue pad
was sold to a museum
and a holiday declared
so the leaders poets scientists
white as clouds
darker than africa
withdrew their wagging hands
and went fishing

0 in the year 2000
they discovered a hole in the ocean
I think it was the Indian


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