Brandon Amico


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Definite Article

Here’s everything I know about precision:

To say it’s the same as accurate is inaccurate. Accurate is the bulb

orbited by moths—      or rather, the moths themselves,

even though some never alight. Precise are the petals

threaded to the bulb,     are the early pollinators landing, hoping to entice

the violet flame to open—imprecise is the heart on amateur

anatomy diagrams, always a bit too far center.

Accuracy begets the calm of the one seated beside the dart board;

the so-few bullseyes,     but the so-little danger (the less precise one’s location is,

the calmer they are allowed to be).

The sap

of 1 a.m. air swirling him (which is felt as

a lack of precision), the dull

bar-light glow that lets him watch the thrower, just in case.

Precision is the flower cut clean off,

the dart flung through stem. Precision

plus accuracy    is the elimination of all flowers

by conscious legislation.

To say words are accurate is unhelpful. To say they are precise is, admittedly, more accurate, but any
understanding could just be realignment of the target, after the shot.

Often words don’t say what they mean

or they do say it   but   enact something else entirely.

With the distance of time, accuracy and precision are thrown clear

from an easy thread, but pull and pull    and the thimbles

will clatter to the floor near

thumbs still wrapped in their own doing, the moon     barks on the thimble’s metal

like a bomb-sniffing dog.   Night exists to turn the lever

once farther, to lull the calendar into sleep through which

it can be carried, time and its mist

a humid womb the frightened men nightmare about, with knives

floating, clanging gently against the walls, each other. How

could you spell   the sound of a dog-whistle?


BRANDON AMICO lives in North Carolina. He is the recipient of a Regional Artist Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council and the winner of the Southern Humanities Review Hoepfner Literary Award for Poetry. His poems have appeared in The Adroit Journal, The Awl, Booth, The Cincinnati Review, New Ohio Review, and Verse Daily, among others.