Lists | E. Martin Pedersen

Please go through these lists

no blood from a paper cut

Check off all the items

how a pencil smells when sharpened

Turn the page around

you lick your index finger

Put an X by those

I always go top left down to right bottom

By which an X should be put

another diagonal line completes the rune

Count the X’s and the checks

move the lips like a fish in a fishbowl

Now compare that number

why do I smell cigarette when no one is allowed to smoke

With the total to get a percentage

I wish I could smoke and never get sick

Then count the number of letters

in and out over the tongue through the nostrils with their tiny hairs

In the alphabetical list of the numbers

sharing a smoke with a lover both greasy with sweat

Please make a master list

like arithmetic so rhythmical

Off all other lists

counting the moles on her back getting a different number every time

With bullet points, colors, and different fonts

connecting them to make constellations

Then you’re done for today.

the finger with the hidden cut still burning.

E. Martin Pedersen, originally from San Francisco, has lived in eastern Sicily for over thirty-five years, where he teaches English at the local university. His poetry has appeared most recently in The James Dickey Review, The Dreaming Machine, Straight Forward Poetry, Nthanda Review and Wagon Magazine.