Physics Library

Today, a library and lounge in a building
next to a pond and fountain were dedicated

to the late father of a writer friend. His father
was a Physics professor in the university 

where I teach. When he started teaching, 
I must have been five years old; at that age,

the most urgent thing was either the itchy 
sweater I was always made to wear, or how 

my kindergarten teacher wouldn't let me go
to the bathroom until recess. But in the new

library, we stood in the space where students
will work on formulae or equations, next to six 

mahogany bookcases. They're filled with books 
like The Theory of Everything, The Quest to Explain 

All Reality, Theoretical Mechanics of Particles 
and Continua, or The Geometry of Spacetime.

Old colleagues and students stepped up with 
stories—one said she wanted so badly to drop

the course; then was glad the professor wouldn't 
let her. And I thought, this is what it can mean 

for a life to connect.  Right under the ceiling, 
hundreds of wires all different colors ran through 

the corridors, each with a different purpose. Circuits
were laid for heat, mechanics, light, electricity, 

magnetism. And there must have been someone 
in your life who once pointed out the chalk-white

stars, explained the shape and motion of bodies; 
the energy of wind, the mysteries of water. 


~ for Michael Khandelwal

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