The First Law of Entanglement: From the Swimming Pool Where You Drowned, to an Underworld Hospital, to Your .357 Magnum Sinking Down Forever to the Harbor Bed




At the harbor, in the smallest hour of this
(Death stuff for sure), this softly tendered now, the Youngest Day,
this silvery clarion blast:	   I have no distance.

Free flow if you can through your very own little
reckoning:  10 yrs. ago today, as of this attosecond:  this area is not me.  
For I am sick unto death of your single deranged sense,  

so much light leaking away @2  minutes_  to_  midnight,
that I feel outside my body just before the 	factory steam whistle 
has blasted all 3 of us away.  

                                                                     As of that blooming, 
2 minutes from here, 10 years away, you’re my only witness.
& I’m yours, seconds from this drowned quantum (I feel
fragmented) in which we’ve been entangled for years,

seconds, days ago, forever.  All I did 	was sink into my own brain
which sucks the orange pregnant moonlight out of our wept corners,	
body inanimate, damp, dead—

continue to bleed us into these saturated rooms.
For I feel foreclosed.  I feel you collapsed on the quiver, on the dive, on the sink.
I feel edited but I don’t have the access code.

For you tug at my trigger-finger just so.
                                                               For the second shift of bodies
has been long underway . . . 

1 It’s Sunday night, Feb. 12, 1994             It’s been zero degrees all weekend. I’ve been having a lot of strange fantasies about buying a .38 special at a pawn shop. I’ll cut out the middle of some secret old book where it can be hidden.


Copyright © 2018 by Sam Witt. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 6, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

"'The First Law of Entanglement’ is from a series of elegies for a friend who died in a swimming pool over ten years ago. Two things mark this elegy, beside the interposition of personal, ecstatic grief. First, I have used language from quantum physics throughout the poem in order to serve the subject matter. The most obvious example of this is in the first phrase in the title, which describes the ways particles can become bonded at the quantum level, so much so that they can be separated by distance and possibly even time and yet operate as a single particle. Second, language from my friend's journals influences the poem to illustrate the entanglement of grief, with humans as the particles. This can be seen most literally in the footnote in this poem, which operates as an alternative voice, maybe even an alternative universe, that runs across the series.”
—Sam Witt