What matters most is private and vast and can’t be seen 

on the brain scan, though it may burn orange or blue 


or a toasty gold in the amygdala, 

a magnolia-green in the cingulum, the cinnamon 


or burnt wine of an old tin roof all through the fornix. 

For the story only you know, the day is coming 


when someone has found out how to read 

each synapse, how to extract your past and play it back 


like a movie, for anyone to see, but even then—

and this makes me laugh—there will have to be an angle 


of witness, like a seat in the audience, and all 

anyone will see from there, as always, is what they can.


It’s once upon a time, still, but the soul of what follows 

glows the color of chance, and who knows 


how holy it is?


Judson Mitcham’s most recent collection is A Little Salvation: Poems Old and New (University of Georgia Press, 2007). He is the current poet laureate of Georgia.