“Did anyone ever tell you you’re angry when you’re beautiful?”
-Q to Captain Kathryn Janeway
In 1906 an ox was slaughtered at a country fair.
Francis Galton observed a contest to guess its weight—the average
more accurate than most individuals, a tendency to
truth called wisdom of the crowd—Galton was knighted
for statistics, a laundry list. A century later four men
followed me off a train, bidding into the sun set.
85. 125. 110, give or take. Girl you deaf?
How much to break that pelvis?
Bodies at rest will stay at rest. Bodies
in motion will pussyfoot three extra blocks
to avoid going home, though they did
get within five pounds of accuracy. Galton also
coined nature versus nurture, my calibrated jaw
deterrent, a marionette with a name that translates
to face, as in nerve, the feminine form
of expensive—the price we put on
charity, the pink tax. Casualidad, and Latin for love.
The Icelandic word for sheep is kind. One of a
gang that would snap my Rorschach hips
into twins. Extra extra. The crux of wisdom
of the crowd: the collective must be diverse
and independently deciding. Borg means city
so I probe the wormhole—what’s in a name
when I am the tongue in the tongue
and cheek, a linguistic accident
going through customs, declaring myself
and all my pre-existing conditions
worth a lick. Forty winks worth of salt
in the quantum salad. Mjölnir: my darling
price: an IUD for the ages.
K.T. Billey is an Icelandic-Ukrainian Canadian poet, translator, writer, and educator from rural Alberta. Her debut collection Vulgar Mechanics, is expected from Partus Press (Reykjavík/London). She was awarded the Leif and Inger Sjöberg Prize by the American Scandinavian Foundation for Stormwarning, her translation of Stormviðvörun by Icelandic poet Kristín Svava Tómasdóttir, expected from Phoneme Media in 2018. Her translation of Chintungo by Soledad Marambio will be released from Ugly Duckling Presse December 2017. See more at ktbilley.com