Temple Example

Sally Ball

The mind doesn’t do what we want it to do.Mine plays speed Scrabble; it sifts pages and pagesof pictures of shoes. Palmyra goodbye. Temple of Bel not a punbut a ruin. A ruined ruin, a ruin sent to oblivionon purpose. Who cares if I fold up at my deska heap of angry sorrow. Not any candidate,no ambassador. Sign a petition? Email some senators?I make nothing happen. I makenothing but orders, seven-letter words, coffeewith the hard water from the oleander-pierced pipeswith their roaches and mud. A templestood for twenty centuries and today the New York Timesshows us its new life as dust. Baal is how they spell it.A neat aerial square of nothing now. The world wantswhat from us in reply to the hatred of the mind?I should say “soul,” I know, or “history” or “culture”but probably only the mind can thwart destructions.In America, the mind is also hated,by whosoever sells us shoes and phones. We are subtlehere, give lots of money to the arts.

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Sally Ball is the author of Wreck Me and Annus Mirabilis. She teaches at ASU and is the associate director of Four Way Books.

Tin House

Volume 19, Number 4

Portland, Oregon

Editor in Chief / Publisher
Win McCormack

Editor
Rob Spillman

Poetry Editor
Camille T. Dungy

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