Lee Slonimsky


I wanted to write something from the point of view of an electron,
but all the seats were taken on the train,
writers all heading for the beach on a Saturday,
no place to sit and write;
I figured otherwise I could have described electron consciousness:
a bit of buzz, a tinge of whir, a flash of flash.

The only thing bigger than splitting an atom is being one, or part of one,
but standing in between cars as I was
due to the lack of seats,
all I could see were hills crowded with daisies,
medicine for the wind, and salve for a troubled mind.

So I became flowery, petals loosened, riding the wind myself,
yellow-whirl destined for surf not far off.
Now I, still a flower, had no clue
what it was to be an electron.
But glory me anyway as I spread
over the hills in petal pieces,
these flames of mine outwitting the wind
and merging with afternoon sun
until they possessed a kind of consciousness,
similar to an electron’s perhaps
or thereabouts — speed but also mind and rotation —

and merging with beauty now, from the train,
beauty that gleams every passing mile
as if the shout of forever.

Lee Slonimsky has work recent or forthcoming in Mudfish, The New York Times, Per Contra, Poetry Bay and The Same. His fifth collection, Wandering Electron, is forthcoming from Spuyten Duyvil Press in New York City in 2014. And he is the co-author, along with his wife, Hammett Award winning mystery writer Carol Goodman, of the Lee Carroll Black Swan Rising trilogy (Transworld/Bantam in Australia, New Zealand and the UK).
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