Mail-Order Electron | by Brooke Larson

The electron looks like it wants you. Nothing flashes desire
like acrobatic ambivalence. Like irreconcilable cleavage.

You want an unfailing confusion, honest against you in bed. Not your
other half. Your inmost mosaic, your micro shatterings. Not a mirror.
An atom’s latticed window. Through it,
a tiny bird flying in every direction at once.

You send the electron an advance. Tell yourself it must be real,
it must be real, to account for missing
momentum, missing energy.

The electron comes to you. It does not look like its picture. It does not
speak your language, it does not fit the wardrobe you prepared.
A translator cannot be found. The electron cannot be held. It takes
your french kiss and diffracts it into a billion tongues, unwinds
their wet suck for miles and miles, like a phantom intestine
digesting a meal you never ate.

More than confused, you feel lonely. The electron is in you, on a level
it is you, but the electron doesn’t love you. It sends your money home
to the ether. More emptiness moves in. The electron has an anti-self.
Also blonde and curvy as sun.
                                                                   It moves through the rooms and you
exactly like the electron, but backwards. There is also a sister. She looks
the same, but doesn’t interact with the furniture. Sometimes you catch them
dancing. You think it is beautiful and exotic. You want to understand
the things they do together. But you blink. They run
laps around your sad eyeballs.

Weren’t you their god? Father-lover? Their possibility? Apotheosis?
Now you feel like nothing but the tone-deaf offspring of an opera-
starring mother. Electrons made you, but you will never grow up
to be an electron. Only in decay. There, you and electron, at last
lovers lost in earth’s bed.



Brooke Larson holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University, and is currently a PhD student in Poetry at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her poems and essays have recently appeared in The Offbeat, Foothill, Gravel, The Swamp, and Dialogue Journal. She often runs away to teach primitive survival skills as a wilderness guide in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert.