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Weeds are not supposed to grow
but by degrees
some achieve a flower, although
no one sees.

From the July Issue

CHRIS O’CARROLL

Quark Sestina

Physicists have identified six “flavors” or varieties of quarks: up, down, charm, strange, top, bottom.

 

Some particles or pulses that make up
Our atoms are themselves made up of strange
Snippets of spin. (Not spinning like a top,
More like a mind that can’t get to the bottom
Of substance conjured by some cosmic charm
From flickering flecks of charge.) What ties down

These fragments? Makes them matter? Fluffy down,
Dense diamond – it’s all mist, does not fill up
The space it seems to occupy. What charm
Binds almost nothingness into a strange
Simulation of something? We, at bottom,
Are emptiness with a veneer on top.

Yet oh how real we feel when you’re on top
(Or I am, either way). And going down
Makes every pulsing particle from bottom
To top again and again ante up
For matter’s realest deal. Eventful, strange,
Almost not here at all, flesh works a charm

That voids the void. Your body’s urgent charm
May be a tactile truth layered atop
A tenuous one. We may be as strange
As we are familiar. When we get down
To business, we may have no clue what’s up
Inside the atoms of tongue, breast, bottom,

Or any part. When we say “from the bottom
Of my heart,” we name a place with real charm
But not a real locale. And what wells up
From that place carries us over the top
Of something that has no real up or down,
No here or there. For love is just as strange

As mostly insubstantial substance, strange
As immaterial matter. Bottom
Line, this flesh in which two lovers lie down
Is no more and no less real than this charm
The cosmos whispers at the top
Of its voice: “All quarks, all love, all made up.”

To be unreal yet real has the strange charm
Of spin and tumble from bottom to top.
Quark me good, babe. Quark me down. Quark me up.

 

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