A good poem needs no explanation. This is not a good poem. But the explanation for it is better than the thing itself. This video was featured on the “RadioLab” podcast of September 10, 2012 called “What a Slinky Knows.”


I am steel coil

propelled by my own momentum I bounce

I stretch

I am graceful, sinuous—a slinky silver dress

I bend

I curve

I am simple, common

And yet, I can do magic

Dangle me over the edge of a cliff

Until I can extend myself no farther, then release

Me into a state of constant collapse

My top half will fall while my bottom half hovers

Defying the law of gravity

I rotate and contort as the compressions press against me

It takes a lot for me to fall.