The First, Second, or Last

The First, Second, or Last

In two statically charged moments
of salt water and electrons
he lays his head in my lap,
curled up like a child awaiting
my touch on his shoulder to
center the world that’s turning
steadily faster beneath his feet
as he clings on to something concrete.

i become the nucleus of his atom.

his flushed cheeks betray him,
two slices of heat almost illuminated
by the blue light of the alarm clock,
blinking out the hour that holds still—
a time piece that lets him stay suspended
in the moment like a frozen glass of
water that shatters with the force of
an atomic bomb
and i am the hidden isotope he has never
found before.

he says, “you are beautiful”
in a way that offers no contradiction,
a hypothesis he believes to be theory
and leaves no room for interpretation
so i goad him in the best way i can.

i say, “you can’t see, it’s dark”
and i feel him exhale, like he’s been
prepared to answer this one question
all of his life, as if he’s documented samples
of my speech and logic for his
case study, breaking apart my particles
and speaking in a way with words that
i thought he had lost in the transition from
dreamer to scientist
(though i am learning they are one and the same)

he says, “i can see you through my skin”

continually, his hands mold
my shape into neutrons, little fibers of
molecules that are more than just my flesh,
but rather a specific set of cells and combinations
that accept him
as a catalyst,
as a response to the
quickening of my pulse, dilated eyes,
and staggering breaths.
as the random action of one human
being coming forth from a universe
of strangers

we heat hotter than the force of
10,000 suns on the face of the planet
for one moment, brighter than the
north star melting into polar ice caps
and spreading faster than tradewinds,
unfurling our sails like phantom kites

this is too intimate for outside forces,
too delicate for words spun in the dark
and in the night with whispered promises
of things that science cannot prove
or ordain
with things not created by religion
or sanity
by instinct that sets a soul on fire
or flight

“mine”, he beckons,
with a palm in the light.
“just, mine.”


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