A Quantum Leap

Laura Winnick

2006 Second Prize

in physics class we play god—
it is the movement, the force,
the friction between parallel objects.
i am applied. i cannot grasp god’s reasons
for inducing calculations between gravity
and the world. what is unseen is unforeseeable—
how far will we accelerate before we lose equilibrium?

diagrams and illustrations evince proof—
imminent endings equating impending impacts.
we are compressing faith between forces,
closing in on the moment of collision.

although my physics teacher can negate backwards travel
and reverse negative velocities, i am not
impressed. instead pass classes calculating
what illusion, head or heart, keeps us trapped on earth.

i estimate that what is propelling us forward will
ultimately propel us nowhere.

in physics class the world is our dollhouse
furniture is precariously placed, slanted, inclined
on planes to our liking. childhood memories
are easily displaced—my mother skids to a stop
on the highway, and i wonder about the coefficient of
friction, whether it skims gracefully through double axles
or skins rug-burned knees falling down stairs.
as for the dolls, we initiate their smash-forces,
dictate their crash-collisions,
and eventually leave the place a mess.

in physics class we play god—
i tune out and swivel my mind away from
quantum mechanics and vibration optics.
sunlight sneaks through the closed curtain,
capturing my eye,
a hush-hush whisper of heaven.

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