Thursday, October 15, 2009


Chemical Change

My grandmother died when I
was eleven; an age when each event
is a lightning strike, an irreparably split tree.
Constant chemical change.
I walked through the viewing room
like a smiling spook, a specter
already dead.
Why else could I not cry?
Had I not silently passed from one form
to another and back again seamlessly
so many times by then?
At least she wouldn't wake up screaming
in the middle of the night anymore.
Not like me.
Wandering into the sanctuary on fire
from all the sunlit stained glass,
full of bodies, their chests still swelling,
I wanted to shout over their pathetic air sucking,
tear down their faces, rip up their lips.
This was not love to me--
to wish the worst for someone.
Small, fidgety in the pew next to my father,
I stared at my palms.
Balls of fists and back open again.
Not quite so transparent as I'd believed them to be.
I felt my father shake, heave, so slightly;
I realized he was crying.
So very large as to make it a discordant sight.
New enough to be perverse,
like seeing his intestines.
I looked down, averting my eyes.
My hands began to tremble,
my whole body boiling as my insides melted,
mixed, refused in a different position.
Constant chemical change.
Suddenly, my open palms
were wet.

Physical Change

When water freezes, the molecules
slow down, lose energy--
move less and less until
they stand stick still.
Fused together.
But it's only a physical change--
they were together before,
slowly flowing over rocks
or sitting pooled in a deep white
bathtub. A gang of great waves
breaking down soil, causing canyons,
looking innocent in plastic bottles.
On the stove of the sun
they speed up like helicopter propellers,
begin to levitate. Break apart.
They get high as transparency,
make hissing sounds from kettles.
Gathering, they hang in loose conglomerations,
barely touching.
When there are just enough of them,
they begin to get heavy, these fizzy
little children. They stop dancing, bead up.
These feathers of water, they fall like bricks.
It rains.
But it's only a physical change.


  1. Truly exceptional writing. Don't stop.
    You have so much emotion in these pieces.