Poet Wrestling with Neutrinos She {Allegedly} Cannot Feel

Rosebud Ben-Oni

We forget the body can become a way out
of life :: & death :: & you

came to a dead river across two islands with all the weight
of a wake unprepared.

Shunned, even, of wrath & rage. Nothing would grow if you didn’t
have an answer

that my life was safe. I wasn’t asking for your hands. Nor were it
chance if you were

to join me in collecting all the little neutrinos we aren’t
supposed to feel.

But the nature of accidents isn’t accidental, my friend,

in that what you think isn’t there

knows exactly what it’s doing
               to us
              &     how
              &     when.
              &     what cross-

roads bear. The weight of such a question divides us

because conviction itself cannot be measured. I wasn’t

asking for your hands—my body
is not two swans lost
to red tide :: the waves we make

It was a matter of invitation, if I should fall for it,

completely, a force greater than any strong, electro-

magnetic or weak. A force much. {Much} greater than

gravity. Efes bears the crown & brings me to my knees.

While it is numbers, shaky
& uncertain, that bind us

& {I have no
burdens only} singing little
threads that bear no resemblance

to actual strings, much less two figures who can’t seem

to reach each other in the shortest of distance.

They are not elegant.

I mean. My vibrations, my math. In particular.

The math holding me together is particularly faulty.

My math is purely strings & exponentially misbehaving.

I am made up of much fucking {& many}
weird equations
of anomalies

where X equals all sorts of subatomic roads

unrelated & quarreling. My {most unnetural} apologies.

Because it seems, no matter what, anyway, all lead

:: back to Efes ::

&         do you regret watching me

go through this

:: {flitting} shape of being ::

where gravity cannot compete.
& rivers in which you seek
assurances will die
when there is no life

:: {left} ::

at poetic feet.

When those shallow waters are stripped
of meter, syllable & accent—only then
will time reveal itself

:: to no one ::

that it is nothing

compared to a force living
outside of it.

I’d be lying if I say I didn’t fear Efes

as much as I murmur & hiss
against all these little strings
having their way with me.

& I’d be lying if I say I didn’t

:: like getting heavy heavy ::


with all these bomb solar neutrinos,

the wild-on ghost particles
seeping into my body
when they shouldn’t

affect me, much less
matter. To which they hiss
& murmur & mess when I hold
something as simple & delicate

as asking a friend
if it were meant

:: to be ::

That somehow could we still share :: time :: all the while with Efes passing

me & has been
& relentlessly
reaching & reaching for
& sometimes touching


& still you stand at the same river,

thinking of the answer you gave, one from where the head

cannot meet the heart

for reasons unknown

Recipient of fellowships from the New

York Foundation for the Arts and Canto-
Mundo, Rosebud Ben-Oni’s most recent

collection, turn around, BRXGHT XYXS,

was selected as Agape Editions’ EDI-
TORS’ CHOICE (2019). She writes for The

Kenyon Review blog. Her work appears
in Poetry, APR, The Poetry Review (UK),
Tin House, Guernica, among others; her
poem, “Poet Wrestling with Angels in the
Dark,” was commissioned by the National
September 11 Memorial & Museum in

NYC and published by The Kenyon Review
Online. Find her at 7TrainLove.org