lōtos + zizuphos

It’s possible that neutrons have been getting a bad rap.

Once they free themselves from the nucleus,
we start calling them “unstable,”
as if their transience,
their ephemerality,
was something for which they should be criticized.

But maybe they’re stable like fireworks,
like dreams,
like air blown through a saxophone.
Ask any of them,
they’re not likely to call themselves “unstable.”

But we,
we namers of phenomena,
we labelers of the world,
we mock minutiae.
We point at quarks and call them strange.
We hide our quirks and search for blame.
We listen as transience passes through us,
in one ear and out the other:
the gentle assuredness of undefinable quantities.
They pass through the air,
beautiful, invisible.

Does that make them unstable,
or is it we,
surrounded by soundwaves,
who are?


In Turn

When the ocean catches fire
I bet the rich people will hog all the rockets.
When the ocean catches fire and the clouds all turn to ice
and the wind blows brownish gray and grass is declared an endangered species,
turn around. Guess what?
Door’s locked from the outside.

When there’s no more water, only blood and urine,
and yesterday’s water bottles are all that’s left to fix the roof,
and when today’s newspaper is printed on old cardboard,
and when the internet is patrolled for threats to national security,
turn around. Who’s gonna fill your cup?
Turn around. Who’s gonna bandage your foot?
Turn around to see the back of someone else’s head
looking at the back of someone else’s head,
all turned around and looking.

The saints marched in a long time ago,
and the rich people took all the rockets.