The Progression

Translated by Kristin Dykstra
When one isn’t enough, you need two
when two aren’t enough, you need four
with four the progression begins, moving toward a number
that schoolteachers will call absurd.
Question: How many men do you need
to put up a house?
Answer: You need absurd men
when one isn’t enough and two can’t do
the work of One.
And how much money should we give these men
to compensate them?
You need absurd coins when one coin
sliced in half and handed out
isn’t enough.
And how many words do you need to
       transform them?
Absurd and absurd and absurd words
when silence isn’t enough.
This is what they call progression:
Absurd men aren’t enough for putting up the house,
absurd coins don’t make them happy
absurd words can’t dissuade them.

Omar Perez, "The Progression" from Did You Hear About the Fighting Cat?. Copyright © 2010 by Omar Perez. Reprinted by permission of Kristin Dykstra.
Source: Did you hear about the fighting cat? (Shearsman Books, 2010)