9.8 / August 2014

It’s Best Not to Interrupt Her Experiments

Trial 16: (11/7/1940)

When the experiment collapsed
in the mild winds of 1940,
no one died,
and luckily no one was hurt
by the buckshot of Newton’s Cradle
resting on the desk.
In daring her methodology to its edges,
she girdered
too far and had to watch a ruin of figures
and phrases
litter the stern river
and copse where she hid herself.
No one died, or so the papers said,
but to be a crash
of a structure,
like being known for a lucky hunch,
was like being raked across the face by an infant
you loved and misread
because that wasn’t a smile
but a simile,
not a caress of a soft little hand
but a slap lacking
the necessary destructive power
but carrying the riddle of steel in its overworked plans:
“In a Bessemer vessel, bring the iron to a boil and refine.
Mix in alloying elements,
achieve a molten state
and pour into ingots.
Makes a ton.
Serves 4,000.”

Trial 19: (10/18/08)

She cloned Odin the other day—well, his hat
wafting after an unkindness of ravens.
She often catches sight of him
strolling by after battles
or when photons fall and gore red.
And she’s positive she saw him slurred
against the background when Bill Murray
whispered in Scarlett’s ear and made her cry.
She is never more herself than when someone
disappoints her:
it’s scoured into her DNA,
in the on/offs of her epigenetic switches,
in the germ factories,
in the phage genomes.
Even the Romans—
they didn’t really plow over
and salt the city of Carthage.
The Hittites, on the other hand,
the Hittites didn’t mess around.

Retrial 23: (3/24/14)

She drives like a mathematician:
rounding up her speed when it ends in five,
plotting the curve of the left turners against the red light,
and the force that will be transferred
to her car if this guy doesn’t get off her ass—STAT.
On airplanes she calculates the distribution
of the TV screens
and the probability
that the guy next to her will touch her leg
by accident and strike up a conversation
about the high-quality, stone tools his company sells.
Her time is geologic;
she speaks in spectra.
And her apartment exists in an extra-dimensional space
she cannot measure
but which the models predict
and so does her cat.

Carlo Matos has published four books of poetry. His poems, stories and essays have appeared in such journals asAnother Chicago Magazine, Paper Darts, and DIAGRAM, among many others. He lives in Chicago, IL where he teaches English at the City Colleges by day and trains cage fighters by night.