|Greg Scott Brown
My nephew, thin as gruel
born a certain sort of genius:
the kind who can name each conjoined street-set
from here to Omaha, then beyond whatever is beyond that.
how many years till my birth date repeats
the precise day of the week I was born
and the number of times this will happen till I am dead.
Wishing to forget all that,
I've no use for these new revelations.
My nephew does, and endlessly extols
the soundness of such bland and blatant truths
since one lone mode of knowing colonized his brain.
Well-meaning adults say
eat too many of those hot dogs and
you'll turn into a hot dog
and here my nephew writhes like someone set aflame
because it actually hurts—
the intemperate ardor of figurative speech.
when he jumps up in my lap,
fashions the hair on my forearms into countless,
involuted curlicues, and says, with flinty conviction:
you know, no one is this hairy,
except, like, monkeys or dogs, or something
I know no one's love
can help him find where to pinpoint truth
along the great, unmapped crisscrossing of emblem and fact.