String theory (Shrodinger’s coffin)

by Jessica Haynes
Moontown Cafe
Second Place, November 2009
Judged by Majid Naficy


breathe
in and out,
ribs up and ribs down
like a flexible cage

It’s strange,
at least I think,
how many pretty phrases
English has
for ”dead”.

so maybe
if string theory can be trusted
(my heart on a broken thread)
if I never see you lying there
(skin like lilies after frost
hands like too soft marble)
maybe
if I never hear the words
(passed away, to a better place
so sorry, such a tragedy)

maybe I can bring you back;
if I can only
choose
which thread to follow
which one to tug
like yarn in a labyrinth
I’ll string it
through the darkness
so you can follow it home.


One does not have to know the "string theory" as a mathematical theory for describing the properties of fundamental particles or Erwin Schrodinger, the Austrian physicist, in order to enjoy this touching and whimsical poem. Our poet approaches the question of "death" similar to the views of my countryman Omar Khayyam, with the difference that Khayyam sees the fate as a puppeteer and our poet as a modern physicist. The ending is especially playful, when the poet wants to shake a string through which the deceased can find his way back home. --Majid Naficy

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