Across (for Claire and Charlie )

by Gord Sellar

They speak in grave tones of the utter difference
and I cannot blame them, the world they lived in
where some gravity, some mass, makes all the difference:
the rivulet of hydrogen and oxygen, bound firm
as if by lovers’ arms, drawn down into the fibers,
the sticking place of the pigment, the bonding of ink
into paper, the paper you have handled when thinking
of him. There is perhaps something utterly different.

They seem to think the same of electrons, when
they kick one another in the behind, shoved one by one
in stream as if eager to tear through the copper and night
across the rim of the planet, into her ear where you
would whisper with air alone, with body’s breath
if you could, but where this electronic dopplerganger
speaks for you, into her body, as if the ends
of disparate filaments can somehow approximate
almost-touch. People have sanctioned this.

But not so with photons. Not when words break down
into stream of digits; as if there are too many filters,
walls, barricades for anything to grow in this space.
They picture the network as if it were no-man’s-land,
and no-woman’s too. And I must admit, I know a little
of that suspicion; I have seen the dry blooms, tasted
windborne dust. But I know better than them, how you
each always find a way through noise to signal, find
a bloom of colors never before named, some desert
beauty that nobody else has quite seen in the sands.

This is not quite an epithalamion, since I’d gotten out of that business when they got married, but it is a poem for my friends Charlie and Claire, from around the time when they first fell in love.

February 8, 2012

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