The Department of Doubt




Broadside of The Department of Doubt by Matthew Olzmann.

It’s lonely for those who work the swing shift
in The Department of Doubt.

At a party, if you tell someone about your employer,
They’ll turn and talk to someone else.

Your achievements will be ignored. Your labors:
met with a roll of the eyes.

No one ever says, “You need to doubt yourself
if you want to succeed.”

It’s believe this, and faith that,
and trust in this, and yes to that.

No one cares how hard it is, what harm comes for you:
the grindstone pinning you to your midnight desk.

Your amaranthine questions. Your armory
of test tubes and calipers. Your hole-punchers

that punch holes into doctrine
and dogma, law books and fairytales.

But you work late and, push your stone of uncertainty –
like Sisyphus, through the night –

because you must.
It’s been this way since the Earth was flat.

Even then, protesters would besiege The Department.
Peek between the curtains. Are they still out there now?

Pirchforks and torches. All that belief.
All that fire getting closer.