So They Say— They Finally Nailed— the Proton’s Size— & Hope— Dies—

but love does not, Menelle Sebastien.
Of all the afflictions
& luck,
all the sums & paradoxes,
& gravitons that add up
to more minus
than plus,
I promise that love
is often as inconsiderate as it is just
because actual love,
I imagine,
is a wave function
that isn’t restricted
to being
in any one place
at one time.
No, love must
be a superposition
with a measurement problem,
but don’t worry,
I won’t get into alternative
realities & how a single judgement
from one can so easily
dissolve
whom,
or what,
she’s sizing up—                & yet,

                              when experts speak of capturing
vastness at such a small scale,
I can only see the passenger
pigeon
flitting into living
sequoia trees,
& every blue whale
sinking into the great
barrier
reef
& all the threats each are facing,
all these gigantic things
that beat
within the size
of a subatomic being
that is the proton,
which is not fundamental
as love
ought to be—

                            & maybe it does all
add up
to a single hush.
Like how we try to escape
what makes us human by trying
to make sense of what made us
human.
These days,
when I think on the proton,
I only observe love
as entanglement
in which we bias & sway & touch
over great,
great
distances.
But like I said,
I won’t get into it
like the quark’s fate
& all the possible quantum trickery
out there,
lying in wait.
I don’t believe hope dies
just because old measurements got it
wrong & there are no secret lives
between protons & muons
that cause the former to change
in size,
silencing all the music
that drives us
toward mystery
rather than discovery.
Maybe just thank
electronic hydrogen,
since, for now, there’s an answer,
even if it feels like a dead end—

                                                       because I’d bet everything,
                                                       that at least something began
                                                       over this:                         jounce,
                                                       butterfly & cower ::
                                                       over & oeuvre,
                                                       greedy, hunger,
                                                       & sour

                 until aching
                 each other’s spoils,
                 stripping bare
                 their delicate
                 & deadly
                 creaking
                 coils—

Poet Wrestling with Atonement

So I turn you into a horse but you are jealous of that horse.

& so you’ve chosen to die.

                                                      Or rather: the horse will not
not be skinned. There. {There.} Feel better. Next year
I’ll teach you to swim & you’ll carry us north
for wintertime.

                                            So I turn you into
a horse, a water horse, with sealskin & steely
fins that never tire, but still you are jealous
of some distant & parched mire
                 wanting to bury me
                              in a rusted flask.

                                  Wanting all my bare skin
                                                   skunned in wineflesh.

                                                                                      As proof

                       of first horse-&-human debt,
                                                                           unborn seed
                                       far away from smokeless winter
                                                      chimney & singed
                                                                        evergreen

                                 kickedstraight

                                                to the curb.

                                                                               & even if we’d return
                                                   {minutes} before the world’s end, still

I’d turn you into a horse who would die
             dying for the music.

                                    Underneath ivory
                        tabernacle, under holy child.

                                                      & still you lament the tusk
                                             warped into wings,

                       the horns hammered for organ keys.

& now you’re a songless thing tearing through
the middle of this horse, who(m) if I don’t finish,
will be left swimming
            in loose folds of ocean
                         for eternity

                              —so I turn you into a horse

& you say the ice is not a place for sacrifice.

So I turn you into {a horse} & you say: turn me

into a drop of rain & I swear by the skun

of our sins you& I

           will never see land again. 

Related Poems

Equivalents

My child is my mother.
There is a perpetual tug of war
between the child in my mother
and the mother in my child.
My spouse is not father to my child.
The man who is lover to his mother—
he too is childless, having been
son to his grandfather, but not brother
to his mother, or son.
The self-evidence of terms
designating family ties
masks the entanglements.
Is it folklore, the assumption
that a man will choose a lover
over his children
and that a mother her children
over her lover?
In this, the man and I,
we are equivalent.
We each have our records.

Einstein Defining Special Relativity

INSERT SHOT: Einstein’s notebook 1905—DAY 1: a theory that is based on two postulates (a) that the speed of light in all inertial frames is constant, independent of the source or observer. As in, the speed of light emitted from the truth is the same as that of a lie coming from the lamp of a face aglow with trust, and (b) the laws of physics are not changed in all inertial systems, which leads to the equivalence of mass and energy and of change in mass, dimension, and time; with increased velocity, space is compressed in the direction of the motion and time slows down. As when I look at Mileva, it’s as if I’ve been in a space ship traveling as close to the speed of light as possible, and when I return, years later, I’m younger than when I began the journey, but she’s grown older, less patient. Even a small amount of mass can be converted into enormous amounts of energy: I’ll whisper her name in her ear, and the blood flows like a mallet running across vibes. But another woman shoots me a flirting glance, and what was inseparable is now cleaved in two.

Lines on Love's (Loss*)

what we do not dream we cannot manufacture

Art follows ear and echo

covers/chooses

selective

eyesight searches the dust

and is surprised by love’s

apophatic blinking

 

what love sees in daily light

holds open color – ink, roar, melody and quiet

is its own steady gaze

to better endure bumps

 

“always more song to be sung” between the words

jars memory and its subatomic underscore

moving at the speed of thought underscore

 

in random thirsts rise underscore

name the sensations, underscore

to fish for breath, underscore

combing through hair as tangled as nets, as underscore

 

thick as the beat of blossoms’ underscore

 

a fine line between mind and senses spinning underscore

in which her/my/their body becomes expert underscore

without waiting for unified theory,

 

loving the body of one’s choice andunderscore

 

to live so surrounded underscore

with fewer asterisks and underscore

more verbs andunderscore

fewer security alerts Underscore
 


there eloquence before underscore

and above

underscore the grave.
 

*For Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor