saw physicists kitted out with clockwork swords
and atomic muses, half-mad with an old velveteen dread
from childhood existential ventures
back when monsters were real. As grown-ups they were soldiers-
turned-philosophers, knapping their obsidian equations into
the only weapons that could pierce the beasts’
too-vivid eyes, so they might pluck them out and see
through æther into everything.
He sucked on recycled air like a cigarette, wired. Around
him, the world rested on levers and valves and electric
angels, in suspense before the first collision: the moment
he was paid to document for the unlike-minded
– but he hadn’t slept lately, he’d stayed up reading dry-erase
boards when everyone had gone, and now hallucination crept
into his overwrought ideas, supersaturated fields of
So it seemed to make sense when
he figured colliding particles were like a doubled mind
churning in a violent metaphysical reaction, and the test-run
results were like his kids leaping off the couch,
half-believing they could outwit gravity if they really tried.
He wanted to tell his colleagues, but he was a
self-admitted waste of resources,
having nothing to do with the flightpath of quarks
or scientific creativity.