Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "The Potential Engine"

After observing that the poll went to a four-way tie I finally concluded that people just plain liked a bunch of different poems from this batch, and I went with the remark that "happy is better than sad." Here, then, is the community-sponsored poem from the August 2008 Poetry Fishbowl.

The Potential Engine

The cat and the quarter saved the world,
but perhaps I should explain further.

It was the quarter I found while mining the couch for pizza money,
and the cat kept knocking it off the coffee table;
I was mesmerized by the transition from potential to kinetic energy
and back again, which reminded me of the transmission in a car.

Then I recalled a particular page of class notes from college,
before I switched my major from Art to Engineering,
back when I framed my notes in aliens and starship engines,
that day the Philosophy professor talked about harnessing
the potential of humanity – and it all clicked.

But only if I could find those notes. After sixteen years and six moves.

I excavated under the bed, in the garage, in the attic.
I overturned tubs and emptied brigades of boxes.
Only as the setting sunbeams lanced through the dust did I find them:
high on a shelf, filed by date, where my partner had put them away.

So I built the potential engine, fiddled with the transmission a bit,
and shifted humanity into a higher gear.
You’re welcome.
Now please pet the cat, because she knows she saved the world.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, poem, poetry, science fiction

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