Sunday, March 27, 2011

How It Happens

A part is not the whole,
but apart from it and merely
a part. The glass filament
is not glass though it reflects
light just the same.

When under a microscope,
the thin thread is a Great Lake shore
in winter when the waves want
for warmth and yet do not freeze,
reflecting the sun upon glassy surfaces
but not sun itself.

Motion is constant until
it is not, just as the body’s live
stillness requires the movement
of muscle, stretching and contracting
a syncopation of that living instrument
until it stops its singing.

Glass filaments break when
knitted to bind the broad cloth
of our living.

Tension, bending, and friction

must happen at the same time,
for if they are singular actions
then the thread merely stretches,
bends, creates heat,
and a stitch.

But when all the forces happen
in a single moment, the filament
finally fractures against God’s palm.

I am satisfied with my conclusions:

You strained towards the northern sky,
and I towards the southern coast.

In concert, we looped and pulled tight
those pained strings, bending them
until the heat caught fire and ravaged
what bound our bodies. 

Simultaneously, we broke.

Now, under the microscope
we are icy waves and identical
in appearance and composition.

I am a part and you are a part
and we are apart from one another.

Neither of us is

© Ami Mattison

For One Stop Poetry's Sunday Picture Prompt Challenge

Photo courtesy of Roger Allen Baut


  1. Oh you are so sly. You go from the white lab coat of the research scientist to the crimson and blue cloak of the poet, all in one deft motion. Well, the glass can be cleaned up. The salty wet, perhaps not so easily.

  2. nice...i was waiting for it to turn personal...and you did not disappoint...apart...could be good, could be naked on broken glass...

  3. I am a part and you are a part...Neither of us is whole... lovely.

  4. What Fireblossom said. I was actually made happy and pleased--an odd reaction I think to a far from "happy" poem--to watch the balance emerge, the resolution, not because it brought a message that ought to be happy, but rather one that was so true and real that it satisfies on some far deeper level than a transitory fleshly pleasure or contraction of pain. I don't know if any of this makes sense, but I do think it's something of a tribute to your ability to expose so skillfully the inner workings. And even those cold waves teem with their own life.

  5. bravo ~ I love the scientific bent of it, only for the poetic voice to come into fruition. A highly complex take on such a challenging photo prompt, well done!

  6. I feel like I'm back in the lab making agar gels lol, loved it Ami, I'd love to hear these works you put on your blog performed and recorded. I read this out loud like a loon lol x

  7. Your work constantly wows me in its you-distinctiveness. This is no exception.

  8. Traversing the labyrinth of reality that is not real to lead the mind out of the mind to a realm unreached by the mind...a fascinating complex web has me entranced by your poem! I love each line of sheer magic.

  9. You do have a very distinctive style of writing here, Ami. Beautifully descriptive - scientific.