Psych 101: we just can’t get enough
of the man who lathers only half his beard,
or suddenly can’t clap, for in the weird
there’s so much beauty. So we’re taught. It’s tough,

this life of scholarship and incidental
romanticizing of a foreign pain.
How ’bout that famed autistic girl from Maine
whose mezzo lilt can hunt down accidentals

elusive to the sharpest kick-line girls?
She only needs to hear a song once, slow,
and she can imitate it, doesn’t know
she shouldn’t sing the skipping. (That one curls

our hair for sure.) Then there’s the man who crams
the dozen roman numerals in half
the clock, tries to tell time. You do the math.
Steadfast in our search for living cryptograms,

we, like beloved aphasics, stand struck dumb
as little Doris settles in to play,
and, with a slight vibrato, sings some day
my prince will come, will come, will come, will come.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 25 Number 7, on page 31
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