Richard and Maria convert mass to energy

Richard's sheets make a map of the ocean floor, a map of the roof of Maria's mouth, a map of the human brain unrolled and laid flat: the Mercator brain, projected out around the poles. Go north and see one point peeled back to form the upper edge, one sensation stretched as long as the cerebellum. Abstract the other way, back into three dimensions, and it's a brain again: a topography of topographies, a blanket arced in tidal sine curves around the arc of Maria's thigh. Abstract once more and it's flat again—but you'd have to pull yourself outside of time to do that, as Richard and Maria have pulled each other out of time. Particles of light from the sodium street lamp outside his window hang above them and vibrate like chimes. His hand warms with the heat of traffic in her spine: signals speeding both ways, all lanes open, lights turned to lines while his own spine hums with the same smooth operations. Intersection is a place and all roads lead there. Her weight positions and directs him. Her lips taste like pressure; he forgets the word for salt. Maria drinks his heat and gives him motion, she gives him force and asks for more. She takes his wavelength, she takes his thirst, she gives him every gram of mass she finds and asks for more. She takes his head in both her hands and asks for more. They burn together, they turn back entropy, they bathe in background radiation rushing downhill from the birth of the universe. Maria opens her mouth and says, at once, every word that she has ever said.

Daniel Story holds an MFA in poetry from Penn State, and now lives in Chicago. His work has appeared in DIAGRAM, Mid-American Review, and Rain Taxi, and is forthcoming in Ninth Letter. He was once, for poetic reasons, granted temporary military clearance.

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761