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Passion Flowers and Puzzle Boxes, a poem by Jason Ryberg

Passion Flowers and Puzzle Boxes

Scientists and poets alike have yet to find 

whether certain experimental hybridizations 

of radio waves and silver go-go boots in any way

affect the erratic trajectories of UFOs;

Though, they now know that the geometry of fireflies 

may have some influence over the delicate symbiosis 

of communication satellites, train yards 

and Blue Turtle migrations.

However, despite recent controversial reports

there has been no independent confirmation

on whether the random arrangement

of orange blossoms on a city sidewalk, 

slick with rain, has any more relation 

to the performance of a North Korean 

featherweight in the 9th than 

a performance of Beethoven’s 9th

by the South Korean Philharmonic does

to the discovery of designs 

for a steam-driven engine 

written on papyrus.

But, one doesn’t need a steady diet

of coral calcium deposits or subterranean

cold-storage of arcane information

to see that a cracked engine block

is bound, cosmically, 

to a crack-baby found

behind a dumpster in an alley

(alive and doing well we’re told),

that beauty-parlor patter is richly infused

with important information regarding escape artistry,

living in the desert, the number “0” AND, 

stealing household appliances 

(specifically, toaster-ovens, it seems)

and, most importantly, 

that a strangely warm winter-breeze

witnessed stirring a light bulb

hanging on the end of a string

will eventually result in a brilliant idea

unfolding like a passionflower or 

Chinese puzzle box of infinite digression 

somewhere down the integer line 

of an, as yet, undetermined causal chain.

Jason Ryberg is the author of eighteen books of poetry, six screenplays, a few short stories, a box full of folders, notebooks and scraps of paper that could one day be (loosely) construed as a novel, and, a couple of angry letters to various magazine and newspaper editors. He is currently an artist-in-residence at both The Prospero Institute of Disquieted P/o/e/t/i/c/s and the Osage Arts Community, and is an editor and designer at Spartan Books. His latest collection of poems is Fence Post Blues (River Dog Press, 2023). He lives part-time in Kansas City, MO with a rooster named Little Red and a Billy-goat named Giuseppe and part-time somewhere in the Ozarks, near the Gasconade River, where there are also many strange and wonderful woodland critters.