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Butterfly Effect

by Ed Ochester

Forgive me, friend, because
I am thinking of a particular
sad Buddhist who has no
real friends anymore and
worries about his alcoholism and
is convinced that he desires nothing, and
I’m thinking of my old friend Walter
who talks to Jesus now and lectures
on creationism because he hasn’t
held a job for twenty years and
whose wife died young of cancer
and who knows that he is “saved,” and
I’m thinking of all the Americans
who believe that in former lives
they were Catherine the Great or Nefertiti,
and all the ones who believe
in the butterfly effect, e.g.:
some jerk who farts in Albuquerque
might trigger a typhoon in Sumatra,
though if that were true
we’d have more storms than Jupiter and
the earth already would be destroyed—
maybe the fluttering butterflies and the farts
cancel one another out, except for
particularly strong ones—and
I am thinking: “the greatest
country in the world since Rome” and
all us poor dumb fucks
heads filled with shit
muttering to ourselves
as we plod along.


Ed Ochester’s most recent books are The Land of Cockaigne (Story Line Press, 2001), Cooking in Key West (chapbook, Adastra Press, 2000), and Snow White Horses: Selected Poems 1973–1988 (Autumn House Press). He edits the Pitt Poetry Series and teaches in the Bennington MFA Writing Seminars. (2001)

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