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The Circumference of Our Extremities, a poem by George Kalamaras

The Circumference of Our Extremities
by George Kalamaras

A similar account noted enlarged inguinal glands.
It suggested acquiring the slight height advantage of a spider monkey.

The head louse found on scalps of Native American mummies is distinct from that of our
   modern heads, but no one knows why.
Might an insufficient malady require a quantity of forced religious affliction?

Asclepius, son of Apollo, discerned a fatal epidemic of typhus among the upper of the lower
Let me inscribe the boils on your back with a voice that respects each of our own family

Yes, it’s Sunday. Yes, examining sputum, stools, and urine may not bring us closer to a why
and a how come, but it may show us how we portion ourselves out.
The complex system of everyone’s difficulty makes possible the circumstance of our

We call the Aphrodite species of worms sea mice, due to their appearance.
Fan worms keep sand grains in two sacs below the mouth and use a string of mucous and
   sand grains to build a tube in which to live.

The gravity of trousers gives into the cuffs with an upturned calm.
I had a friend whose hair—on either side of the part—took up both sides at once.

George Kalamaras, Poet Laureate of Indiana, is the author of seven books of poetry and seven chapbooks, including Kingdom of Throat-Stuck Luck, winner of the Elixir Press Poetry Prize (2011). He is Professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he has taught since 1990.