Syntax & Event Horizon
My mother’s handwriting has become crabbed,
her sentences less readable, diminished. When she
speaks, grammar and logic are reeled back
into her body in a tight ball, they entrap meaning.
An artist makes a sculpture of welded letters,
bronze, verdigris, sphere of whorled alphabets,
claims all that can be said can be said with them,
re-arrangement’s all it takes; he suggests
whatever’s said forges a sphere of tangles, an atom’s
nucleus, split into chaos. Or nothingness: void star,
black hole where gravity’s so strong nothing
can escape, communication severed, anti-pulsar.
We infer anti-matter, recognizing what it is not
through the actions of what surrounds it, proof by
contrapositive. An alphabet can be used for that, too:
my mother’s event horizon, not-sense, nor why.
Ann E. Michael
Ann E. Michael was awarded the 2022 Prairie State Poetry Prize for her manuscript The Red Queen Hypothesis, which will be published in 2023. While contemplating her mother's advancing aphasia, she thought of Tobin's sculpture and of black holes in the universe: resonance.
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