Linda Casebeer: “charm and strange”

charm and strange

broken down it turned out
charm paired with strange
named for the lifetime of the K
particle strangely long
and charm only on a whim
they came in twos and threes
like truth and beauty until
those names were deemed
too sentimental until that pair
was renamed top and bottom
along with up and down
the lightest of quarks each
fundamental particle unable
to be broken down any further
the way obituaries have the last
word on Richard Taylor
smashing electrons into protons
to reveal what lay within
the heart of all objects his
a story in an invented language
quarks themselves named
for a line in Finnegan’s Wake
three quarks for Muster Mark
begins the story anywhere
in 1990 when the Nobel Prize
was awarded for quarks
we had so little time to wonder
about the heart of anything
was it fractional charges
that had brought us together
to the blue house a world
built of children and work
dogs and cats lilies and irises
if anything we might have found
time instead for translations
of Octavio Paz another prize
winner that year literature
over physics since the story
begins anywhere



Linda Casebeer lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and has published one collection of poetry, The Last Eclipsed Moon, from Cherry Grove Collections, as well as poems in journals including Slant, Earth’s Daughters, Pinyon Press, Hospital Drive, and Soundings, among others.

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