In the middle of the day, it might hit you that light is an object,
and so are you. Like Feynman, you’ll want to explain this
to someone less foolish than you. You’ll say
light is pockets, no: colors, no: dust—just look.
Light climbs out the window each morning
like the woman in the house next door, golden
haired and half naked. Just try and stop it. Your face
is particles and pores, and I can just imagine
what the light would do here, undo here, suck up
the water, dry you out, sweeten, then yes—dust.
Look outside, the children throw limbs around like beams
and are thirsty for it, this sunshine, which is also death, like fire
is also death, water. I pretend life is light, but watch the worms
after a storm, the way they must instinctively desire flattening,
to be sucked clean as grapefruit. What a way to go.
Light leaves like your mother, without waking you up,
without notice. When I run through the backyard, crabgrass
pricking my bare feet, I see what grows, what strangles underneath—
All just atoms and no one knows why.
The physicists say don’t ask why but how, only how
does this molecule or that bond create the pink of your smile, the salt
in your skin. I want to taste you, but even that is chemical.
Something else is between us, call it light or air, is tainted by the other.
If I touch you, it’s not me, but this history of microbes.

It hits me now that I have never really been able to love you.
I want to tell you it’s because of this: energy, mass, the acceleration
of my body through time and space, the way the wind
eats at my face until I am something else.

Sara Moore Wagner lives in West Chester, OH with her husband and three small children. She is the recipient of a 2019 Sustainable Arts Foundation award, and the author of the chapbook Hooked Through (Five Oaks Press, 2017). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in many journals including Waxwing, The Cincinnati Review, Tar River Poetry, Harpur Palate, Western Humanities Review, and Nimrod, among others. She has been nominated for a Pushcart prize, and Best of the Net. Find her at

Sara’s work previously appeared in July 2017 and January 2018.