Zeno in Keweenaw
Pudding Magazine #59

Every day, before he reaches the mine,
he must get halfway up the road.
Before he can get halfway, he must move a quarter,
an eighth of a mile. And so on—this intimate
number of steps—movement’s an illusion.
It’s a dead-end trail,
the toil angling ahead of him into dark.

It’s a metaphysics problem, how to reach
the thick of it. Zeno behavior: he’s always
going toward the halfway stage though he wants
to keep his job, is adept at shafts.

He believes in paradox, is astute.
But, he’s tired; it’s hard to lift each foot.
When he thinks about
the beginning of his shift, his eyes
squeeze shut—he can’t even start to begin.
Movement’s an illusion—

he’s rooted. The repetitive splitting of distance into
dichotomous parts: the din hammers his head.
Motionless, he’s settled,
suspended in a frieze on the subject of labor history,
frozen like copper rock.


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The Schuylkill Valley Journal publishes poetry, short stories and critical essays. Both the SVJ and SVJ LIT come out twice a year, in the spring and in the fall.
Schuylkill Valley Journal


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