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Millions

    There were uncounted millions of the beasts—hundreds of millions,
    we forced ourselves to believe.
                        —Frank H. Mayer, The Buffalo Harvest


I can't force myself to believe in any old
                                            almanac, that the best days for fishing
           will come mid-March, that fog in January
                                                                      brings a wet spring.

Most of my knowledge gets turned, or upset. Even chickens
                        aren't completely flightless—they can make it
                                      over a fence, into the low branches
of trees. In China, a man built his own dialysis machine, kept
                                                himself alive for thirteen years.

Wolverines will rescue people from snowbanks, dragging them
                             by their shirtsleeves to safety.

At the Maeklong Railway Market in Thailand, tourists marvel
                                                             eight times a day
                                            at produce stalls set right on the tracks,
whole shops removed as a train barges through.

Like clockwork, the market reassembles. I always question
             the most rigid convictions. I can't trust a person
                                  who plays the lottery, believes in planning

for luck. I think someone evil once said, a single death
                           is a tragedy, a million a statistic
. I don't buy into
the claptrap of despots. I want to say the word miracle somehow
                                                            without cringing, believe
types of goodness exist. Oh. It's too easy
to trust—
              the future arrives; the honeymoon happens.
                                       The baby is born with ten fingers, ten toes.


Lindsay Tigue

System of Ghosts
University of Iowa Press


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