THE PERFECT POEM
By JR Solonche
X is the first letter of the fewest words, one
reason why X is my favorite letter.
X is a person, a thing, an agency, a factor,
etc. of unknown identity. X is the Roman
numeral for 10. X is Jesus Christ, God’s son.
X is the designation used by the motion-
picture industry for films no one under
17 years of age may attend. X is the sign
that kisses you at the end of a letter.
X is the power of magnification.
X is the signature of an illiterate.
X is used on a test to indicate an error.
X is the last letter I write on most of what
I write. X marks the empty spot.
I open my wallet which contains who I am.
It is right to be made of skin.
There is one one-dollar bill, more than enough for a phone
call if I can make the change.
There is a picture of my wife as an infant.
There is a picture of my wife as a teenager.
There is a picture of my wife as my wife.
There are three plastic cards which give me credit for being me.
There are two library cards which, alas, I use seldom.
There are two health insurance cards which, alas, I use often.
There is a stub with which I will redeem a watch that needs a new crystal.
It is the watch of my wife’s father who is dead and who,
therefore, has no wallet.
I carry it in my hip pocket.
I have never lost it.
It has never been pick-pocketed, although for years I lived in a big city
and traveled the subway, wary of a large population of strangers.
THE PERFECT POEM
The perfect poem is not square,
although I used to think the perfect poem
would have to be square.
I probably thought that the perfect would have
to be square because I read a lot of sonnets when I was young,
which, you know, sort of look like squares.
Now I know the perfect poem is not square.
Now I know the perfect poem is a sphere.
Now I know the perfect poem is the shape of the earth
or of any other body in space whose core is molten iron.
About the Author:
Professor Emeritus of English at SUNY Orange, J.R. Solonche has been publishing poems in magazines and anthologies (more than 400) since the early 70s. He is author of Beautiful Day (Deerbrook Editions), Won’t Be Long (Deerbrook Editions), Heart’s Content (chapbook from Five Oaks Press), Invisible (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize by Five Oaks Press), The Black Birch (Kelsay Books), I, Emily Dickinson & Other Found Poems (Deerbrook Editions), In Short Order (Kelsay Books), Tomorrow, Today & Yesterday (Deerbrook Editions), If You Should See Me Walking on the Road (forthcoming from Kelsay Books), and coauthor of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books). He lives in the Hudson Valley.