Henry Crawford

The King’s Cosmology

Some believed the world to be made of lawyers.
Attorneys on the shoulders of barristers on the shoulders of advocates.
Lawyers all the way down.

When the king found an error in the law he summoned his lawyers.
If the lawyers disagreed, he replaced them; one after another
until the law was to his liking.

The replacements were required to agree with the king.
But this caused the universe to lean to one side. And sometimes
they had to replace the replacements.

The king’s grumbling didn’t help matters. The foundations of the law
would shake with every grievance. Then another lawyer would disagree
and have to be replaced.

The king eventually found elephants to be better suited to the task.
For every lawyer that needed replacement, the king would get
an elephant to fill the gap.

So that’s how we know the world is flat. Not spinning on its own.
Nor part of some star lit galaxy. As the king has said many times,
it’s elephants all the way down.


In my
of plenty
sunlight kneels
willingly on
law abiding

The police
are holstered.
Children come
to touch
their guns.

In my town
of abundance
light lingers
in the
Food stays still
in the

come to the door.
are answered

our trucks stand
waiting on
Sunday afternoons
in unison.

Robbins flutter
like air conditioner

The Quanta-Box

Early models could predict the rain
years into the future. Down to the moment
of the first drop. Quantum computers can see
all possible states. All outcomes plotted
against all other possible outcomes.

It was the end of every kind of Wall Street.
Casino doors shuttered for good. A Quanta-box
could predict your husband coming home
in his new Ford Ranger, down to the minute.
Even though you hadn’t even met him. Yet.

My own Quanta-Box foretells my death
by natural causes. It’s a bit like landing
in Millionaire Acres. But I blocked the date
and time. Is it a hospital? A home? Am I sitting
on a folding chair before a lawn of languid grass?
What music in the background? You can block
these out as well. But I did peek ahead to see
a room full of people. Their wait now over.

When a 1-Celled One Was [I]

all descending swirls
                of four letter code
                               etched inside my walls

the lines of what would be a smile
                my acquiescent chin
                               these blue-green eyes

handy with symbols but
no Mozart here

the first [I] knew of pain

came the cracks along the surface
                of my exploding roof with

legs to be legged
                arms to be armed
                               hands to be handled

[I] disappeared in [two] fleeing

for the first time

Henry Crawford is a poet whose work has appeared in several journals and online publications including Boulevard, Copper Nickel, Folio, Borderline Press, The Offbeat, The MetaWorker and Into the Void. He was a 2016 Pushcart nominee. His poem, "The Fruits of Famine," won first prize in the 2019 World Food Day Poetry Competition. His first collection of poetry, American Software, was published in 2017 by CW Books. His second collection of poetry, The Binary Planet, is to be published in the spring of 2020 by The Word Works.
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