Torch Song for a Unified Field


for Emari DiGiorgio

Change the terms, you change everything. “You’re already in a relationship,” my friend, another poet, says, over lunch, dragging naan through raita, which is also called yogurt: the way our bodies open for another, my lover, her husband, her daughter, my son. A fermion becomes a boson, but maybe we knew that all along: I recall, with a hot face you could split with perfect symmetry, his cock against my back, waking me with his warmth. It’s just another language question in the myriad of ones and zeros, which aren’t ones and zeroes until we say their names: another tiny universe to describe— Newton said it was like the billiard balls’ perfect clunk and bounce, string theory says that somewhere deep inside their clunk and bounce is a symphony, a minute, ever-singing harpsichord; but Bach, the man who plucks the strings, who wrote the code, is nowhere to be found; so, too, the air the balls slice open is made of chorales, castrati, Philharmonics, splitting for a moment when the 8-ball motors through—

In the same way, you and I have a story, which hides a story, which is entering a long coda, which is, forgive me, the wrong word— an epilogue. Epilogue: (picture the asterisk, the footnote):

Later, they reunited, after many years— she had a child, he had another broken heart. Hers had long ago taken on the quality of a well-strung violin, a Stradivarius, if you’ll permit me: pull, pull, pull, press, grind it deep into the wooden grains of her ever-rounded, water-heavy body, it refused to snap and, quiet for a while, resumed its ability to hum, let’s call it potential energy, a stored equation that, if properly tuned and plucked by the right fingers, unfurled, burst into a song so clear and loud, so totally beguiling, that the owner of the hand became eclipsed, convinced beyond a shadow that he’d written it himself—

Conversely, Keith Richards is still sure he stole the riff for “Satisfaction,” having woken with it in his head, fully formed—unaware, perhaps, of the First Law of Thermodynamics: matter cannot be created or destroyed. So it was always there, since the time of the Big Bang—and don’t try and picture it, because if you do, you have to picture a place so dense that nothing surrounds it: there is no such thing as space, yet. Don’t try—but since I know you will, because you are like me in ways we cannot yet foresee, but which, like everything packed in that proto 8-ball, already exist, imagine a hot black sphere of reverberation which already carries inside it pteranodon bones, Guernica, and the whole of what, one day, we’ll agree to call “California.” It carries the matter, it carries the codes, it carries the matter that will make the brains that will write the codes, that the brain will discover already existed in nature, whatever that is— everything was always just waiting to reveal itself, like a note from your lover telling you he has to go, far away, like the voice in your head that says, Of course, of course, I knew all along—

We are strung together lightly, barely packed, spinning atoms, singing strings— touch me, I will gallop into particle and flame–


About evanduyne

I'm assistant professor of writing at Stockton University, where I'm also affiliated faculty in the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. I work on Sylvia Plath, contingent faculty, and creative writing around trauma and domestic violence.
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