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Form of Indeterminate Purpose by W. Vandoren Wheeler May 3 Social worker dropped it off: only thing left in Dad’s lastest apartment. She said she found it set in the exact center of the living room. Typical Dad, no note. Oblique little trash obelisk. May 7 No contact from Dad for days—no letter, no nothing. No trace, online or elsewhere. He is gone. Gone gone. May 18 I must assume Dad left this worthless trinket for me, but it’s not anything I remember. Started searching through old photographs, scanning backgrounds of snapshots and polaroids. Borrowed a slide projector to cycle through the family shoebox. Late into the night, the carousel’s shu-kah, shu-kah. Stared past us to scan countertops, bookshelves, terra cotta pots-their black holes of soil from which off-green plants spring…. Found nothing. June 11 Sent the mystery token off to a lab. They ran the basics, came back with the obvious: 3.729 ounces, ceramics of unknown origin, 13 gauge steel wire for internal structural support, oxidized by Father Time. “Form of indeterminate purpose.” Wow, thanks. June 16 Not only do I not have any, today I realized I would stomp-squash any hope might sprout. What I do have is this clue. The form is the thing. I can hold it, this solid artifact. This key. I’m turning it into a totem, an unread message. June 22 Sent that stupid mute trash amulet to a better lab, somewhere upstate. Coughed up for the works. June 25 Carbon dating puts it at 1972. Good start, but waiting for results from all available separatory methods: selective precipitation, filtration, complexation, osmosis, Form of Indeterminate Purpose
Forms of Indeterminate Purpose by Van Wheeler Posted March 17, 2024
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