Poetry Tuesday: XVII

Happy Poetry Tuesday! And welcome to December! I know I had a nice break from writing during November, and, as promised, I’ll start writing Science Thursdays and Plug of the Month again this month. I’m not going full holiday-themed like I did in October, because I don’t want to get into an endless cycle of theme-writing. You’ll see some holiday posts, but it won’t be quite so in your face. I’m sorry if you’re into that.

This week we’re looking at a blend of science and art (one of my favorite things). The writer was inspired by quantum entanglement, the name for the physical phenomena of particles interacting in such away that their independent quantum states can’t be determined (similar to stirring cream into coffee until you no longer have two liquids, but one mixed liquid). Happy reading 🙂

Combustion

If a human body has two-hundred-and-six bones
and thirty trillion cells, and each cell
has one hundred trillion atoms, if the spine
has thirty-three vertebrae—
if each atom
has a shadow—then the lilacs across the yard
are nebulae beginning to star.
If the fruit flies that settle on the orange
on the table rise
like the photons
from a bomb fire miles away,
my thoughts at the moment of explosion
are nails suspended
in a jar of honey.
I peel the orange
for you, spread the honey on your toast.
When our skin touches
our atoms touch, their shadows
merging into a shadow galaxy.
And if echoes are shadows
of sounds, if each hexagonal cell in the body
is a dark pool of jelly,
if within each cell
drones another cell—
The moment the bomb explodes
the man’s spine bends like its shadow
across the road.
The moment he loses his hearing
I think you are calling me
from across the house
because my ears start to ring.
From the kitchen window
I see the lilacs crackling like static
as if erasing, teleporting,
thousands of bees rising from the blossoms:
tiny flames in the sun.
I lick the knife
and the honey pierces my tongue:
a nail made of light.
My body is wrapped in honey. When I step outside
I become fire.  -Sara Eliza Johnson

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