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The Person with the Loupe


When the person with the loupe was assigned
to our town, we asked what we could expect
from whatever happens next, but the person
with the loupe wasn't ready to say, so we walked
the sidewalks home, swept the stairs of our entries,
and waited.
                 Later, the person with the loupe
was seen examining a building which we thought
was still standing; we all nearly agreed it was,
but the person with the loupe said we weren't qualified.

We could not be accurate to the same degree
as the person with the loupe.
                                          With the loupe,
it could be determined how much the wind had eroded
the building, the wear from pigeons' feet,
whether the brick could stand up
to whatever time was left.

For anything we needed to know, we were to ask
the person with the loupe.
                                      The person with the loupe
is always invited. The person with the loupe
does not need to knock and is squinted
from so much looking through.

The person with the loupe prefers stillness to achieve accuracy.
It takes time to be accurate, and we were told
this is what makes it difficult to keep up on things,
as time is an agent of change, and change means something
has moved and will need to be examined.
                                                           Given this,
the person with the loupe is still working
on last year, says,
Each calendar day is a square
the size of all the others.

But the days we recall best seemed otherwise: some shifted long
while others shadowed fast.
Nevertheless, says the person with the loupe.
And, Therefore, we are to answer back.
                                                         The person
with the loupe gets the front seat. And is looking at
something we cannot see from here.
From the wrong end of the loupe, we can grow
very far away. We feel we have always been very far away.


Jennifer Boyden

The Declarable Future
University of Wisconsin Press


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