Tim Vrtiska CC
My Mother Discovers Quantum Mechanics
In quantum mechanics
nothing ever has to happen.
The particle need never decay.
There is nothing to force
a real occurrence. Only conscious
observation causes events.
If we do not look,
nothing ever happens.
Ergo, if my mother does not see
my father, struck white with lightning
pain as his spine dissolves to chalk,
if she does not study his face,
gaunt and lined with the gray
dust of disease,
if she refuses to note
the voice too weak for song,
the shuffling step, the shaking hands,
he will for eternity be perched
in his blue recliner, remote
upright in his fist,
as he naps through Bonanza
re-runs, never having to die at all.
There Was a Murder in the Field
near our house this morning--
fifty or so crows wearing Goodwill
overcoats, begged frozen soil
for seeds. There is something sad
about crows, as if they know
they know too much.
Henry Ward Beecher once said
if men had wings and black feathers,
few would be as clever as crows.
Not only can they count to ten
and use tools, but they also conspire,
gossip in regional dialects,
hold grudges when wronged,
and never forget a face. No wonder
Odin used two crows as his worldly observers,
symbols of thought and memory.
But, like us, there is something crows
do not understand—the stilling of breath,
the finality that comes with death.
When a comrade dies, they congregate,
beat their wings, and cry out to heaven.
Anger and grief held on their bitter tongues.
*There Was a Murder in the Field first appeared in Sierra Club of Indiana's chapbook "Human/Nature".
Linda Neal Reising is a native of Oklahoma and a member of the Western Cherokee Nation. Her work has been published in numerous journals, including The Southern Indiana Review, Nimrod, and The Comstock Review. Linda’s poems and fiction have also been included in a number of anthologies, including And Know This Place: Poetry of Indiana and Lost on Route 66: Tales of the Mother Road. She was named the winner of the 2012 Writer’s Digest Poetry Award. Her chapbook, Re-Writing Family History, was a finalist for the 2015 Oklahoma Book Award and was named the winner of the 2015 Oklahoma Writers’ Federation Poetry Book Prize. Most recently, her work was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
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