Posts Tagged ‘science’


for Craig
It’s so human, the hand,
how it rises
to wave to a friend,
as if it is a direct extension
of the heart. Perhaps
that is why, in these days
of emojis and AI,
when you write to tell me
you wave each time
you drive past my house,
my hand rises to wave back,
though I don’t know where you are
or when’s the last time
you passed by my home,
but, here, friend,
wherever you are,
here’s my hand,
palm open, arm high,
not electromagnetic
but no less full
of song and light
this wave reaching
across the night.

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It’s science, of course,
how the sugars in beets
will caramelize when heated,
a process that includes conversion,
condensation, dehydration,
collisions, and the formation
of thousands of volatile compounds.
And though it’s not simple,
and though this process of sweetening
is not fully understood,
sweetening happens. Every time.
Is it wrong this gives me hope
for other hard and bitter things?
Just asking the question,
already I feel myself begin to soften.

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While we stand at the stove
making potstickers
my daughter leans into me
and drops her head on my shoulder
and those twelve seconds of stasis
become the center of rotation
on which the whole day spins
and F equals mv squared over r
is just another equation for love.
I have ridden enough roller coasters
through the loops so to speak
that I trust how this works,
trust that in this wildly spinning world
there’s a force that pulls us
to the center, that won’t let us
be pushed off the path.
I trust it so much in this moment
I don’t even try to hold on.

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I feel like I’m this experiment called Joi.
            —Joi Sharp

Now that we’re calling this life an experiment,
it’s suddenly more fun to notice
what makes a Rosemerry angry?
How does a Rosemerry learn?
Can we make her annoyed?
What if we frustrate her with insurance claims?
With slow traffic? With politics?
With fill in the blank?
What conditions help her forgive?
How quickly might a Rosemerry
be moved to tears?
What makes her want to cast blame?
What if she meets guilt in a crowded room?
What if she has nowhere to hide?  
What makes her feel small?
What makes her feel vast?
How does a Rosemerry
heal from a wound?
What happens when she is infused with love?
What if it’s more than she can hold?
What inspires a Rosemerry to laugh?
What if she deviates from her thoughts?
If we minimize the variables,
can we predict what brings her peace?
If we control confounding factors,
can we repeat our findings?
Faced with the data,
can she still embrace the unknown?
Can she stay open to possibility?
Lose her attachment to outcomes?
Such a curious subject,
elusive as a song.
What if we change the stimulus again?
Who is she now?

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The pineal gland walks down the street.
No one notices it, of course—
so few have any idea what it is.
Not to mention it’s the size of a pea.
Though a mouth sees it
and whispers to an ear,  
“I heard she secretes melatonin.”
The ear titters, as if it’s a joke.
It’s no joke. The pineal gland  
ignores their chatter. Because it’s true.
And it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
“Hey, PG, don’t worry about them,”
says the open yawn walking by.
“You’re amazing. I should know.”
The pineal gland nods and sighs.
“I feel so misunderstood,”
The yawn grows wider.
“It’s no small thing what you do—
to let in light and darkness.”
The pineal gland gives a shrug.
“In fact,” says the yawn,
“thank you for letting it all in.
That’s the only way
this world will wake up.”


(um, yeah, I know i just totally geeked out, but hey …)

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Sometimes, when I fear
the small light I bring
isn’t big enough or bright
enough, I think of that night
on the beach years ago
when every step I took
in the cool wet sand turned
a glowing, iridescent blue—
and the waves themselves
were a flashing greenish hue—
imagine we could do
what 7.9 billion
one-celled plankton can do—
can shine when it’s dark,
can shine when agitated,
can shine with our own
inner light and trust when we all
bring the tiny light we have,
it’s enough to illumine the next step
in the long stretch of night.

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And Mean It, Too

In every second, one hundred trillion neutrinos
pass through the body: One hundred trillion

subatomic particles move through us
as if we were sieves, no, as if we were nets

with holes so big that whole islands
travel through without us noticing.

It thrills me to think of the self so porous,
so leaky. Imagine if thoughts, too,

could clear us with so little friction,
so little effect. How many hopes and hurts

just today have I let stick? Imagine
them breezing through the aorta, imagine

them gliding through the brain, slipping through
the core of us, finding no purchase, no anchor.

Imagine the miracle that in any given moment
we don’t fall through our chair, our bed, the floor.

Imagine, permeable as we are, we still coalesce
enough to look at another, to see each other as whole.

We still manage to pick up the mesh of a phone,
succeed in moving our holey lips,

and hundreds of trillions of neutrinos later,
with total certainty, manage to promise a solid I love you.

Imagine, with these pervious hands
we might carry each other, might cradle

each other, might welcome each other home.

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Ephemeral Prayer


In five billion years, the hydrogen fuel

at the core of the sun will be spent.

Forces of gravity will take over,

compressing the core. The rest of the sun

will expand, vaporizing the earth.

I’ve studied the science, read the texts.

In the meantime, I live in a canyon

with rock walls one-hundred-fifty million years old—

and sometimes, like this morning,

despite rumors of doom,

the forces of gravity take over

and I fall on the floor laughing—

a riotous squealing and braying,

tears leaking, chest heaving,

grateful to big time for this very moment

when I am almost seamlessly joined with my shadow.

It rolls with me on the floor as I hoot and giggle,

praying in the language I know best.

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*Dear readers: Sooooo. After really investing myself in the letter (linked below) and writing the poem below, I found out the letter is a fake. And I thought about just taking down the poem. And then I thought, well, even though Albert didn’t write the letter, I still believe in what it says. So I changed the title and made note here that the letter is fake. I guess my poem just turned into fan fiction??



If we want our species to survive, if we are to find meaning in life, if we want to save the world and every sentient being that inhabits it, love is the one and only answer.

            —a fake letter from Albert Einstein, in a letter to his daughter, Lieserl



Thank you for your letter.

I know you wrote it

for a daughter,

but I read it as if

you wrote it for me.


You spoke of making a love bomb,

a device powerful enough

to entirely destroy the hate,

selfishness and greed

that devastate the planet.


I want to believe it’s possible.

Now. Somehow, because it is

your assertion, it feels

more possible than something

the poets propose.


But count me in. Let me help

verify your equation in which

the energy to heal the world

is obtained through love

multiplied by the speed of light squared.


Let the experiment begin

in my heart. Let me always

let love write the proof.

Let me find the infinite energy

inside me waiting to be released.


Let me be driven by love.

Let me remember everything

is in relation to everything else:

Planets in their orbits. A virus. Black holes.

How I meet the world. The bending of light.


*to read the full letter, click here

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Not that I want to be someone else,

just that I want to be less myself,


which is to say less the woman

who thinks she knows anything


about anything—gardening or writing

or skiing or parenting or loving—


I want to be less who I am and

more what a tree is, what a star is,


protons fused with other protons,

and the strong force that holds


particles together in the center of atoms,

and the weak force that breaks the atoms down,


and the electromagnetic force that binds

all molecules. Yes, this is how I want to meet you,


without a name, unencumbered by a me,

a collection of atoms and forces that rhyme


with you, linked as we are from the very beginning.

How easy it is then to say hello, to fall in love


with each other, the world.


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