Mathematics by Les Wicks

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Narrated by Les Wicks

Mathematics by Les Wicks
Illustration by Sue Babcock


Innumerate days, uncountable grass.
Over Faro, North Carolina
two hydrogen bombs were dropped
and somehow didn’t detonate, 1961.

Minot AFB, six cruise missiles went missing.
Oops a lally! Those transport planners
should have talked more to their clerks.
Almost nothing happened.

January 25, 1995 Mr. Yeltsin sobered up
and was given the briefcase. Norwegians
thought they were looking at the aurora
with their rocket, but the submarine
radar identified it as a nuclear EM pulse.

Codes activated—two minutes
to full retaliatory launch.

My union had a big case on travel
allowances. With no sitter available
my daughter was reading Goosebumps
in the gallery, while the sun outside
threatened to burn forever.

Though blind, we plotted numerically
and pretended to harvest glorious futures.
Like piss in the hourglass, it was ours
from the yoke of an algorithm
to the bin of binaries.

We will blow up.


BIO: Over 40 years Les Wicks has performed widely across Australia & internationally . Published in over 350 different magazines, anthologies & newspapers across 29 countries in 14 languages. Conducts workshops around Australia, has edited various projects over the decades, latest being To end All Wars (Puncher & Wattmann, 2018) & runs Meuse Press which focuses on poetry outreach projects like poetry on buses & poetry published on the surface of a river. His 14th book of poetry is Belief (Flying Islands, 2019).