An anomaly of nature
            Means a chemical outgassed from metal used to fashion microphones
                        Is identical to a substance released from the lignin of wood

When configured to form a podium.
            The vapor from either source negatively impacts
                        Only the region of the human left cerebral hemisphere

Assigned to temporal processing.  Markedly susceptible individuals--
            Particularly poets and scholars, for some reason--
                        May have mastered time-telling skills when four years old

And, as adults, can be functional enough
            To arrive at an airport on time to catch a plane
                        And to appear at the assigned time to perform in public.

Yet if this person approaches a lectern,
            Especially when a microphone is present,
                        he or she ceases to be able to comprehend

A wristwatch or any device that indicates
            Minutes and hours.  Such situational aphasia
                        Occurs most often, though science is uncertain why,

In the presence of colleagues who have been asked to read or speak
            During the same event.  The victim will invariably utter,
                        Well into her or his performance:

"How much time do I have?"  A variation or addition to this question is:
            "Do I have time for more?"  Or: "...for a few more?"
                        Luckily, once the afflicted individual is removed

From the podium, this failure of an entire cognitive circuit
            Is reversed almost at once
                        Without discernible aftereffects.

Thus the pathology, though fascinating,
            Represents no ongoing health threat.
                        And, of course, no sufferer should be blamed.