Trying (by Suzanne Buffam)

Original Text: 
Suzanne Buffam, The Irrationalist (Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 2010). This poem is reproduced on the Griffin Prize Web Site (from a volume on the 2011 Canadian Shortlist).
For a long time we looked at the world and thought not. Then we looked at our lives and thought maybe. Now we are trying. We bought a new set of sheets for the bed. We bought a thermometer and a book.
I find the book on the whole reassuring. It gives lots of examples using real-life names like Gail, Audrey, and Dr. Smith, as well as comic touches here and there like Dr. Rhea Sure, who keeps popping up on Gail's chart. But Appendix K does contain some trying phrases. What, for example, is a Hamster Egg Penetration Assay? What is Nonstimulated Oocyte Retrieval In (Office) Fertilization? What is the Male Factor? What is Within Normal Limits?
If procreation were a matter to be decided purely on the basis of rational thought, would the human race still exist? Schopenhauer thought not. Every evening, rain or shine, he would walk his poodle, Atma, for two solid hours through the streets of pre-war Frankfurt, trying to imagine a world as sterile and crystalline as the moon.
The rest of the poem cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: