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September 17, 2013

Within all men turn cogs and wheels,
connected complicatedly
in order for the flesh to work.
A tiny wheel turns—in turn,
it turns a larger wheel that slots
into the cogs of three more wheels
that move to lift an arm, or leg.
And other wheels, much smaller still
than any wheel that lifts an arm,
lift memory from dark recess,
or bring a blush unto a cheek,
or tell a man to fall in love—
so intricate and delicate,
infinitesimally small—
they are too easily misplaced
within the busy turnings of
the many wheels and cogs of man.
And once they fall from where they turn,
they are impossible to find—
be wary of the slightest bump:
for tiny wheels can often fall
because of tiny accidents.
When larger wheels fall out of place,
it’s easy to replace the part—
for giant holes leave giant shapes,
and giant shapes are obvious.
When tiny wheels drop out of line,
they often go unnoticed by
the sharpest doctor’s instruments,
the clearest microscopic lens,
and even by observant friends.
When tiny wheels drop out of line,
there isn’t much a man can do
but hope another turning wheel
will push the missing part into
its proper place, to turn again—
but often man must learn to live
with little holes where once did turn
amazing little wheels—that brought
emotion (now forgot), or told
a heart to warm (now cold), or drove
a man to dream and love and move;
where now he sits and feels the cogs
within his breast begin to rust.
What tragedy dislodged the wheel
whose absence causes him to groan?
‘Twas nothing, insofar as he can tell.

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