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  • String Theory with Heartache
  • Susan Rich (bio)

The long lines of this sentence look to resolve in a pointof punctuation; when in fact, there are still more sentences

   and conditional clauses, and exclamations to go. But what if the point   is not the point? Under the world's microscope we see that

no picture frame, no old love, no sigh—actually stays still. Maybe we are all made of strings!

   A gull draws a winter branch across the horizon,   then returns to add a delicate curve to its nest—

Today, the news reports a second earth orbiting a neighbor star.In pampas grass and dried pods of vanilla, in suspension

   bridges and candy floss, what heat works   to vibrate twigs to filament to universe?

       Perhaps this is why violins       and guitars, cellos and dulcimers, are so delicious

in our inner ears—a seduction by strings—building blocks of our own bosons, of cells, of clear waters.

       If we move like jerboas or paddle boarders, which circulate       air over their own limbs,

then we know our disguises are working.The desert trek on camelback, the Tuareg sash on even longer

       hand-embroidered robes. If we are simply       balls of twine wound around a breath of air, then how

to pluck and pick our lives—to repair the filament in our ledgers—the elegant rumors of belief. [End Page 80]

Susan Rich

Susan Rich's most recent book, Cloud Pharmacy (2014), was shortlisted for the Julie Suk Prize. Other books include The Alchemist's Kitchen (2010), Cures Include Travel (2006), and The Cartographer's Tongue (2000), all from White Pine Press. She is co-editor of The Strangest of Theatres: Poets Crossing Borders, published by the Poetry Foundation. Her awards include a PEN USA Award, a Fulbright Foundation Fellowship, and a TLS Award. Rich's work has appeared in O Magazine, Pleiades, World Literature Today, and elsewhere. She is co-founder of Poets on the Coast: A Writing Retreat for Women and teaches at Highline College, outside Seattle.



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