Gains & Losses
Too Many, Too Few
      “There’s another way to phrase that and that is that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. It is basically saying the same thing in a different way.”—Donald Rumsfeld

There are too many finches, too few
                Darwins. Too many
                              baroque Christs glooming
         from their gilt frames, too few clouds
                gawking rails of light.
The wren doesn’t stay behind
                              to count each flake
                of snow filling
         her abandoned nest, which isn’t
                              to say she doesn’t
                consider it
         dring the taut respites between
I look out and I see too many
                people and too few, which is a different
         way of saying
                the same thing, which is a way
         of saying I’m tired
of saying the same thing, which is a way
                of saying I find no evidence
         of change, which is a way
of saying that even
                decline can be a kind of steadiness.
The archipelago’s isles
                bunch up
         in the distance,
but this is a trick
                of perspective:
         the straits between
are miles across,
                and whatever
         land we settle on
is always wind-swept
                and wide.

Photo Credit:National Archives and Records Administration

Copyright 2009,  Nick Lantz

Nick Lantz received his MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2005, and he returned there in 2007 as Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow. His poems have appeared in Mid-American ReviewSouthern Review,  online at Locuspoint,  and Prairie Schooner. He is a copyeditor living in Madison.

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