On Fission

(with lines from Jesse Lee Kercheval)

The sudden weight of skin 
and heart makes me start
to cry—as if I'd spent a whole
afternoon shucking wrappers, 
peeling rind after rind to get  to the seed; 
or needling and needling a cavity in the chest.
And still there was no end to it. I know this 
feeling from its many incarnations: scent-
spilling tree in the night, foghorn whistle, 
shadow of a moth wing before the moth 
itself bangs on the screen. This late 
in life, I am still always trying to resist 
words like forlorn, with their long 
centuries of loss behind them, their 
habit of loosening whatever they 
were attached to or bound. Bound as in
bond, as in a chemistry of atoms, their 
orbitals and shells able to hold only 
so much until the moment of breaking.

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