Not Even Wrong #6: Three Kiddie Poems

by Jackson Arn


I: Bubbles


Not knowing they’re impossible, they slip

through geometry or fitting, go

squarish where they must, kissing

the rainbow mouths to right-left-up-down

from here to death.


Bathing in clones, each holds,

with skin and neighbors,

a secret breath.

II: Magnets


The most amazing part is not how amazing

they are, but how the toddler

on the tiles, shaking hands with each square,

has already found, in brushed-off hair

and papers, a crowd to waddle her

pup’s weight through—never racing—


so that the magnets waiting in the box

are characters but not heroes, neither main

nor supporting. Or supporting

and main (so hard, contorting

your busy-proud, life-fed brain

to make a toddler’s visions into thoughts),


everyone introducing themselves, no background.

She hop-strolls through the yelling,

the sideshows trying to astound her,

from the chill clacking stones (the magic you remember)

to the crumpled plastic wrap reswelling

with a wet laughing sound.


III: Celebrity, age 12


He stands, pre-fame, for his class picture,

his scowl meaning fear, not genius or sex,

which could, I guess, be seen as inspiring—

something to laugh about when he’s sure

the seats are sold, or, after retiring,

a joke he’ll crack to prove how far he’s risen.


First page of the biographer’s index;

last fame of every psychedelic vision.