The Sunday Poem: Stefi Weisburd... Field Trip to a Dangerous Mind

Stefi Weisburd volunteers at Explora, and this poem shows it. What a field trip! She is the author of two books, The Wind-Up Gods and Barefoot: Poems for Naked Feet. Her work has appeared in several national pubications, including American Poetry Review, Poetry (includes audio), and The Paris Review.

Weisburd will be reading locally next Sunday at the Church of Beethoven with Amy Beeden.



Field Trip to a Dangerous Mind

Bradbury Science Museum, Los Alamos, NM, home of the atomic bomb


Mr. X’s brain resembles a mushroom cloud in a jar. Just now it’s unjarred and pinkish, skulking on its tray. The fifth graders in the Science Theater masticate this tidbit of data while surveying the weather in their stomachs.

Mr X’s brain donated itself to the museum in 1991, says Ms. Fermi, educational consultant. Now that the brain’s unclassified, she can divulge that Mr. X was a sales rep. for the Cold War.

Mr. X’s spinal cord resembles a ponytail of long pink spaghetti. Ms. Fermi lifts his eyeballs with a popsicle stick.

One by one the children hold Mr. X’s brain. Not realizing it’s a dud, some kids faint in a chain reaction. Others think it’s yet another memo from the Office of Cooties Management. When Dillon C. coddles the cerebellum, Mr. X misplaces the atomic formula for ________.

Ms. Fermi warns that smooth brains are too big for their skulls and may fall for optical tricks as Sarah S. soon discovers for herself when her worksheet morphs into a five ton Fat Man.

Ms Fermi leaves the class with this thought: Women have more daisy chains linking left to right hemis. The women chaperons smug. Who knows what will happen when the two halves touch – light! or annihilation!

Views: 15

Tags: Weisburd, poetry

Comment by Ben Moffett on July 25, 2010 at 4:32pm
A great poem. Jarring if unjarred and skulking. I like the upgrading of "chew on" to "masticate" when talking about gutty fifth graders. The brain donating itself? Brilliant and accurate. But I'm really wondering about Ms. Fermi and her relationship, if any, fictional or otherwise, with the late Los Alamos atomic physicist, Enrico.
Comment by bg on July 26, 2010 at 8:56am
Hilarious. Nice to have some humor in the Sunday poem. My favorite: "surveying the weather in their stomachs."

Bradbury Science, Big Science. Not a few report B.S.
Comment by Ben Moffett on July 26, 2010 at 10:18pm
Even the title is a mind-blowing belly laugh.
Comment by Sari Krosinsky on August 28, 2010 at 8:29am
Good stuff, as ever :)

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