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Kathy Burkett

Einstein's Brain

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Thomas Harvey placed the bloody
disembodied brain of Albert Einstein
into his lunch box—strange food
for strange thought.

He transferred the unplugged brain
into a jar. It sank like a dead fish
He sliced it like deli meat, hoping
to discover the secrets of genius,
hoping to discover where flashes
of brilliance originate among
the wrinkled grey corridors
of the hidden mind chamber.

He took the brain from city to city.
He looked at it under microscopes,
begged the dead thing to reveal
how it knew what it used to know
and why it thought what it used
to think. The brain remained
dead quiet. Einstein had already
exited the lonely grey room.

When Penises Paint Surreal Women

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Her head is usually replaced
with something else:
a flower—blooming pink or red
bursting open like an eager vagina,
a black hole,
a gramophone,
a telephone,
a loud speaker (blaring blah, blah, blah,
DaDa, DaDa, DaDa),
Anything other than a mind
of her own but
she always has
exposed breasts—
sometimes milk pouring into
delicate tea cups, other times
gushing forth cattle-style.
Torpedo-style titties pointing like
little sparkling stars so the viewer is
sure it's a woman, it's a bitch, because
the things got tits, sometimes even literal
knockers you can bang and come inside.

Often the dicks take her arms away,
but she's got legs, baby, legs
and a cunt like a forest—sometimes literally
like you'd need a map to avoid getting permanently
lost in the overgrowth of woman bush,
trapped in the snatch, lost in a labyrinth of deep roots
pumping blood to that secret, slimy inner world
that darkness that smells and beckons and threatens
to devour and render you powerless,
unable to roll over and away
when you're finished with
the piece of her you desire.

Dead Time

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She wore a silver watch
in her casket. It kept telling
time for hours and hours
after the lid was shut,
after her body was lowered
and buried beneath the soil.
The tiny clock on her wrist
continued tick, tick, ticking

Second hand waving at
nothing as snowflakes fell
onto the dead roses frozen
over her decaying body,
her wrist withering in
the silver shackle of time.

Minutes mechanically measured
while calendars turned and
day and night ceased to exist.

The battery eventually died.
Tiny metal corpse already
buried atop slender wrist bones.

Minutes no longer counted.
Existence is the act of slowly
disappearing. Time finally slept.

Some Kind of Secret

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SECRET in dark wispy letters on baby blue plastic.
INVISIBLE SOLID proclaims the label
attached to this object in plain view.
POWDER FRESH printed in clean white letters
just below that proclamation of invisibility.

What is this secret? This hidden thing?
It's a see-through shield of pale distraction
caked on sweaty underarms, a sickly sweet
fragrance that hides a wild animal scent.
The real secret is that we're all faking it—
perfumed and civilized, hiding from ourselves and each other
the sheer scent of panic that oozes from our shedding skin.

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