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By Marc Pietrzykowski

Pardon me, ma’am, but I couldn’t help
noticing—are you familiar at all
with our 28,000 structures, sequences,
bibliographic citations, taxonomic classifications,
and sequence and structure neighbors?
We’ve extracurricular activities, Girl Scout meetings,
thermal anomalies, witch doctors…
all life-industry specific, no junk.
28,000! people still use traditional units sometimes,
but the wound is always there,
the need for new categories, external assets,
“in bounds” and “out of bounds,”
rules about who can have which sort of bird,
be it hawk, falcon, or eagle,
and be seen with it on their wrist. Ancient vases
and jars, figurines, furniture, lanterns and bird cages…

Aside from correcting the well-known defect, aside from
the ease and convenience therewith,
you’ll note that such a wealth is manifest in the spiel
we devote a sizable portion to hunting the poor,
often with pheromone-spritzed clipboards, they
don’t know to help themselves, we fix them.
How many structures have you squirreled away?
1,062? Half of them amphibolies? How sad.
You cannot share
and we cannot share with you.
Moonlighting might be the answer;
you could find yourself part-time work that’s fun,
fulfilling and financially lucrative.
A large part of the audience tunes in
just to watch the sideshow. Catch them!
Sell and be sold and your structures
and structure sequences might manifold.
Like living in a pop-up book. Exciting!
Or… let me check with the inscrutability vortex…

Ok, just this once, I am authorized to help,
just a bit. But who am I? Why listen? My ethos?
Why, my dear, I am the cat question.
I am a burst valve or two away from stopping altogether.
I’m one who’s learned to systematize, sister.
I can find a path through a weighted graph
which starts and ends at the same vertex,
includes every other vertex exactly once,
and minimizes the total cost of edges.
That’s right, doll, I’m the traveling salesman
and I’m here to make you feel a greater good.

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