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For My Logic Students

Name it and it's gone.
Bugeyed, no trace.
Of character, no mark.
Then who debates with whom?

Who is this ghost or beast
muttering beneath the fan,
revolving the question?
Architect? Lord?

Subtle duality of self!
(Though some say he is gone,
banned to some Elba,
instructed to meditate.)

L ike a thicket,
noncommittal faces await.

Who speaks?

What center?
What witness?

Chalkboard. Lights.

Night, intaglio,
concealing bright leaves.


I go to the front door to scan the night sky,
the door frosted over with a hard coat
of sub-zero rime, and a big "L"
scrawled, rubbed clear--
but it is blood of the lamb
that shall save the first born
of Israel from the destroyer.

I do not want to believe
the "L" has been marked here
by a human hand. My father
reassures me: "I wiped it there
to see out. For Christ's
sake, shut the door.
It's ten below zero."

I shall visit the old in their homes
with a cigar and a Santa Claus suit.
The "L" in the door
does not
let me see out.
Everyone listening understands.
Invisible, they sing so softly
I almost cannot hear them.