New stories replace the old. We have refined
our machines. We smash one particle against the other.
Insects circle the streetlamps like electrons. Remember
how I kissed you in the hotel parking lot? New stories
replace old ones. Today, particles race around a track
until they kill each other. It’s like the secret thoughts
of an unhappy mind. Round and round. Remember
that dark parking lot? I didn’t think I’d do it,
and then, in the warm drizzle, I kissed you
right on the mouth. It was a long time ago.
With each collision, new particles flicker into existence
for an instant. Do you know I live in Texas now?
Two old cats? A collection of ancient coins? I tell myself
I live within history. Into history. I shuttle
forward in time, all I’ve passed through cohering,
flickers of memory in a hardening cortex. You might be
dead by now. Who knows? Still, there was that time
in the hotel parking lot, mist sifting greenly over us,
and you opening your umbrella, laughing. Electrons
circled the streetlamps. In Switzerland,
someone thought he could confine certain particles
to a circular track and make them collide. New stories
and old. For you, I once burst into existence. Insects,
then the rush of traffic. Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.
Kevin Prufer‘s seventh book, How He Loved Them (Four Way Books, 2018), was a finalist for the Rilke Prize. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston, where he co-curates the Unsung Masters Series (unsungmasters.org).