Home > Chapbook Finalists 2010 > A Date with Ben Franklin

A Date with Ben Franklin

August 22, 2010

From (E)vocation by Tiel Aisha Ansari

“why me,” he wonders

Because I wanted to know
what it was really like

feeling that lightning strike
run down the string

handling the hot slag lump
that had once been a key

and now, shapeless and smoking
nonetheless turned in your hand

and opened so many doors
even though it wasn’t really like that

Because I wanted to know
if your legend has ballooned

like the sails on an outer-banks schooner
running before a storm

and needs to be trimmed for accuracy
And I wanted to know if you

would rather be remembered for
the Declaration, the glass harmonica,

the Gulf Stream, abolitionism,
political satire, chess, refrigeration,

being right about the wave theory of light―
most of all I wanted to know

what was it like, just what was it like

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Tiel Aisha Ansari is a Sufi, martial artist, and data analyst living in the Pacific Northwest. Her work has appeared in Islamica Magazine, Mezzo Cammin, Untitled Country Review, The Lyric, Barefoot Muse, and the VoiceCatcher anthology from Portland Women Writers. Her poetry has been featured on KBOO, Prairie Home Companion and MiPoRadio and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her collection Knocking from Inside is available from Ecstatic Exchange. You can visit her online at knockingfrominside.blogspot.com.

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