Spurious Correlation Sestina

Spurious Correlation Sestina

by Jules Nyquist

when zero
is a temperature
it is an interval scale
that dips below an imaginary
line to go negative, as in a thermometer
in a pandemic used as permission to measure

our temperature, but how do we measure
something that falls below zero
like the weight of a bird—our thermometer
won’t register an invisible temperature
and we will disappear like the imaginary
checkbook balance of youth, on a scale

of probability, the chances of converting the Fahrenheit scale
to Centigrade was remote, the U.S. still measured
in Fahrenheit behind the rest of the imaginary
world where a bank balance waits to zero-
out and a raven pulls shiny coins from the sky in a temperature-
controlled out-of-the ether mainframe thermometer

six thousand feet above sea level, a thermometer
measures the speed on a speedometer scale
when the motorcycle driver hurls over a temperature-
reduced mountain ridge to an almost measurable
crash that soars into a stock-market zero-
point of ratio scaling, a lie on an imaginary

boundary where the motorcycle driver imagines
they never hit the car and the thermometer
never registered above human normal and zero
meant nothing, it was only an innocent bathroom scale
that we blamed added ten immeasurable
pandemic pounds to our weight and the temperature

of Earth rose only in the height of trees,
a temperature that didn’t take into account the imaginary
altitude sickness that turned out to be very measurable
and tripled the effect of the beer stored in a thermal
cooler, found by the side of the scaled
curve of that mountain road where zero

was just a measurement of temperature
and the imaginary paper bank statement never showed zero
due to there was nothing to scale on the erratic thermometer.