by Cory Brown


the most difficult
part of being a student
i think was having

to negotiate
in the dimly lit classroom
of my psyche the

i felt at discovering
how little we know . . . 

we’re taught this and that
as if they’re absolute truths
only to find that

truth is just a part
in a play written by the
greek propagandist

plato who proposed
that knowledge is true good and
beautiful and that

numbers are more real
than you and i and not mere
tools but what makes us

human no one told
me in grade school after i’d
pledged allegiance with

my cute little hand
cupped over my heart that those
dancing angels of

logic we use to
count cupcakes and all the ways
we love thee are the

fundamental tools
of human cruelty that 
compel us to dis-

respect all things both
living and inanimate 
what i imagined

were passive
hosts of
our calculations: clouds sheep
people . . . take the dead

and missing from the
earthquake in nepal how we
tracked the numbers to

distract us from what
it was like for them to be
buried by snow and

how it didn’t fall in
lovely little increments
on their children’s out-

stretched hands how it didn’t
fall in soft white flakes on their
eyelids cheeks and lips

Cory Brown grew up in Western Oklahoma. He's a graduate of Cornell University's MFA program and now teaches writing at Ithaca College. His last two collections of poems are from Cayuga Lake Books. His poems have appeared in Bomb, Nimrod International, The Fiddlehead, and Postmodern Culture, among others. His essays have appeared in South Loop Review, Journal of Narrative Politics, and Writing on the Edge.