Our Velocity at 2.73 Degrees Kelvin – a poem by DB Jonas

Our Velocity
At 2.73 Degrees Kelvin

...per che l’ombra sorrise e si ritrasse
Dante, Purgatorio II.83

You cannot see it moving
over the slick-rock face,
or in moonlight hear the way
the tousled cornsilk sighs.  

You cannot feel it lift 
the nape-hairs of your dream
but there it is beside you
always, the slow heat
of living, moving along
at precisely the velocity
of your downwind reach.

Looking backward
from the bleeding edge
of time, we must appear 
to be, relatively speaking,
smack at time’s dead center,
so swiftly swells this
tidal diastole, yet we
can only just approach
that always vanishing place
across a fast-diminishing,
a never-quite-closing,
distance.

At the middle of things,
I imagine a swift house,
a busy airport terminal, 
all motion, all polished granite,
steel and glass, and in its midst 
The Deity Herself perhaps,
a slender girl in a crisp
unwrinkled Burberry jacket
who doesn’t seem 
to recognize you 
as you approach, and when,
arms spread wide,
you offer the customary
embrace, she takes
a startled half-step back.


DB Jonas is an orchardist living in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico. His work has appeared in Neologism, Consilience Journal, PoeticaMagazine and The Jewish Literary Journal, and is forthcoming in Tar River, Innisfree and The Deronda Review.

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