"Peeling the Stickers off Rubik's Cubes" by Blair Emsick

In the restless echoes of an animal’s iris
might lie exactly what we’re missing.

What is psychology
but a measurement of spikes
in heart rate and changes in skin conductance
when we don’t get what we want?

What is psychology
but the way the city shrouds the starlit sky.

An old lover
is just a language you forgot to speak.
Old friends
are lyrics you can’t remember.

Some studies have found that when we see a homeless person
they don’t register in our minds as a real person
but rather as an object
like a table.

I want to know who funded this research
or rather I want to read that grant:
we want to know why
people treat homeless people like shit!

I wish poets would stop writing about the government
and stick to what they know,
which is nothing

but how to rest a head on a belly
and reach a hand up to tussle the hair.

I wish scientists would stop writing about people
and stick to what they know,
which is nothing

but coming up with more and more
mysteries to haphazardly solve.

What is skin but a way to measure human fear

What is the last line of a poem
but a poor jab at sentimentality
a hallmark-y wish well?

What is poetry but a tongue contesting an eye?
What is life but a rotting teeter totter?
Could snap anytime,
but that’s half the fun, right?