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Wednesday, March 18, 2020


by Robert Knox

Illustration by João Fazenda for The New Yorker

Let's not believe in science
Let's just play it all by ear
Let's say it's all a swindle
There's nothing, folks, to fear
Let's blame it on the other guys,
who want to take our place
It's a hoax! And a disgrace!

Swindle time, scoundrel time
Don't let it all unwind
Dwindle time, fiddle time, reduce the prime
Con job on the knotty pine
A little bug in the system's all
Just wait, I'm sure we'll soon be fine

We're practicing our magic word
Like the Marvel man's 'Shazam!'
We'll say our word some lovely night
and deconstruct this sham
There is no call for fright
It will disappear when we say the word
We'll wonder why—it's so absurd!—
we ever could have been so dense

Don't ask me what the word is now
I'll keep you in sus-Pence

Robert Knox is a poet, fiction writer, Boston Globe correspondent, and the author of a novel based on the Sacco and Vanzetti case, titled Suosso's Lane. As a contributing editor for the online poetry journal Verse-Virtual his poems appear regularly on that site. They have also appeared in journals such as Off The Coast, The Journal of American Poetry, South Florida Poetry Journal, TheNewVerse.News, Califragile, and Unlikely Stories. His poetry chapbook Gardeners Do It With Their Hands Dirty, published in 2017, was nominated for a Massachusetts Best Book award. The chapbook Cocktails in the Wild followed in 2018. He was recently named the winner of the 2019 Anita McAndrews Poetry Award.