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Determinism

The determinist is hard
at work. He is writing

a book—inside
will be found

a description
upon descriptions
of a going

always inside

out. This is how
sentences, it will say,

outrun themselves—
for instances, a woman runs
into now. What she passes
places

her in need
of a thing

greater than
can be

and she
herself flees

the moment
she steps inside

the maze
of it.

The determinist’s book will be
a hard one to close.

The determinist walks down
the street. The determinist
buys a paper. The determinist
looks at a woman.
An event like any
other begins to be

no event at all.
A woman is
in the house A woman is
in the bedroom. A woman is
in the bed. A state of affairs
like any other

begins to be

another state
of affairs.

The face of it all
comes to a halt.

We blush
where it might have

kept going.

The determinist falls
asleep at his desk. He has been
thinking all day. He has been thinking
of the woman who will appear

in his book. It is late, much too late
to be at one’s desk. Others have
gone home. The determinist is
by himself, at his desk, dreaming
of the woman who will appear

somewhere in his book.
He can dream this simply
because a woman once stood
still by his side, simply
because things run their course, simply
because his dreaming must be

otherwise.

The determinist
awakens to an alarming

thought—an unlikelihood,
sure, but now

that he is awake
it is certain

he must leave
things as they are

that instant.

There is one day another
day on which the determinist

is found dead. His death
is an ordinary affair, says

the woman who appears

inside his book. She continues
as if a she were a thing running

off course:

People enact
their accidents.
Emergency without

what went wrong

is the pool
of blood reflecting

the course of events.
The sirens make sense

of noise. Things go
right and then

the chance
to die on time

is saved for later.

Much later she adds:

The threat of things
happening as they should.

The world accomplishes itself.
Its efficiency lets us
go—

the hum and must follow—

Her description
is that of a hard woman

to shut up inside
a book. A hard

woman to keep
close.

___
Michael Trocchia’s work appeared recently in Asheville Poetry Review, Mid-American Review, and The Dirty Napkin. He recently received a grant from The Arts Council of the Valley for his stage adaptation and upcoming production of Stephen Crane’s “The Blue Hotel.” He lives in Virginia, where he teaches philosophy part-time at James Madison University.

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