“Elemental,” by Francis Fernandes

Dec 20th, 2020 | By | Category: Poetry

One pithy Oscar-Wilde-reading
swimmer on the online dating site
I like to dive into from time to time
with my underwater harpoon gun
said instead of endless writing
back and forth, it would be far more
efficient to let the chemistry decide
right away, face-to-face. And at first
I had to agree, thinking of Alfred
Noble and Marie Curie and that H2O
guy, Cavendish, and wondering if
our encounter would radiate
magnificently or possibly even
explode like a hydrogen bomb into
the mysterious beginnings of a galaxy.
But then I got squeamish and said
I needed to know certain details first
(efficiency be hanged). How would
she react, for example, if I got up
at two in the morning to gawp
at my fish in the aquarium?
And what if she flailed around
in her sleep and happened to whack
me in the eyeball: would she drive
me to the emergency room
without her makeup on? Once,
at feeding time, one of the black
mollies got so excited and swam into
my hand as I was stirring the water.
The next day, one of its eyes was
visibly swollen. A week later,
it expired. Some questions can be
answered quickly, without having
to get dressed. And later on,
if necessary, for the purpose
of the act, you can put on your
blessed lab coat and do your best
Niels Bohr impression—or even
jump around bizarrely like
Schroedinger’s cat—for whichever
reckless fool is willing to let
luck and electrons do the thinking.
Sometimes discoveries take a while.
If ever.


Francis Fernandes grew up in the United States and Canada. He studied in Montréal and has a degree in Mathematics. He lives in Frankfurt, Germany, where he writes and teaches. All this jumping around hasn’t prevented him from acquiring and maintaining an aquarium, where he does most of his thinking, and he’s grateful for having pieces published in The Zodiac Review, Beyond Words, Indolent Books, Third Wednesday, Poetry Potion, Montréal Writes, Underwood, Bywords, Amethyst Review, and Modern Poetry Quarterly Review.

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