The Anatomy of a Cratedigger

The Anatomy of a Cratedigger

by Eric Evans

Selections:
The Nobel Prize in MathematicsThe Puzzle WomenUntitled #168A Birthday Wish

The Nobel Prize in Mathematics

So, the story goes that the
mathematicians get no credit
because of a woman and her
calculating lover, the long
division of a brilliant heart.

The chemists and doctors, the
physicists and writers all make
the Swedish trip routinely.  But
not the mathematician, left
alone with his numbers and
their reductive ways.

Poet, playwright, chemist, inventor,
pacifist with an explosive mind,
Alfred Nobel and his millions,
an element in his name and a
field of imitation in his wake.

And yet
the story, if true, is proof
once again that nothing
not money
not patents
not even Italian property
can make up for a lover lost,
that not even genius is immune
to the multiplicities of desire.

The Puzzle Women

For four hundred years
the puzzle women will spend
their days in the offices of
what was once Stasiland, piecing
together the papered lives
of the captives, tracing back
out who did what to whom
and when and how and why.

For four hundred years
the puzzle women will reassemble
the days a line at a time,
a hundred and twelve miles
high, rescued from a phalanx
of burned out shredders
smuggled in from the West
as the Wall began to fall.

For four hundred years
the puzzle women will cross
reference the stories of a private
mapmaker and the death strip,
of a man bleeding with the
bandages just out of reach,
of lovers telling on lovers,
of children on parents, of
mothers on sons, one spy
for every six East Germans.

Untitled #168

A goldfish has a three-second memory,
at least that's what I read somewhere.
And, really, maybe it's not always such
a bad thing, this constant turnover.
Sure, he may never remember his
wife's birthday or the combination
to the wall safe; he might forget
his heart pills or to pick up dinner
on the way home from work, low
points on the arc of criminality.

Then again, he'll never, never know
about the awful screech of a breaking
car or the suddenness of a pulmonary
embolism.  He'll never catalog the
words nigger or kike or faggot,
won't hear a politician lie and then
lie about the lie.  And he won't,
thankfully, ever hear the telephone
ring at three in the morning and
know that absolutely nothing good
can possibly come of it.

A Birthday Wish

I hope the card arrived on time.
And that you have a good birthday.
No, make that a great birthday.
A birthday so great that
it verges on treason.
A birthday so amazing that it causes
an international incident and
you have to flee the country
just for the safety of your family.
And when they come to question me about it
(and they will because we have such
a checkered past)
I'll tell them nothing, absolutely nothing.
They can torture me but I still won't talk.
I'll spit in the face of the interrogator.
I want you to have birthday so mind-blowing
that it becomes instantly legendary and
a thousand myths spring up around it,
all somehow involving vodka, water polo
and Dwight D. Eisenhower
– in no particular order.
Really, I just want your birthday to be
that goddamn good.