Against Newton

by June 16, 2024 0 comments

I was nine or maybe ten,
inside the circus big top,
and I watched a performer place
white plates on thin poles –
maybe bamboo? –
and set them spinning –
cheap, ceramic satellites –
held in place by a thin rim
of centripetal force

And he had to run, pell-mell,
from one pole to the next,
because the plates began to wobble,
and he couldn’t get to all of them in time:
some fell and broke into snowy shards

And those watching went Oooh!
but he simply picked up a new one
and set it spinning as well:
an artist determined to outwit physics

Years later, here I am,
tossing words into the air,
hoping to elicit a gasp
from anyone who might still be reading

And I’m constantly afraid
they’re beginning to wobble
dragged by the force of gravity
unable to keep any motion or meaning
and they break, break on the page

– Scott H. Urban

editors note:

Jus’ keep ’em spinnin’ (and have dustpan handy). – mh clay

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