Transect; Poetry and Gender 101
“Unity is plural and, at minimum, is two,”
wrote Buckminster Fuller in 1975.
You took a photograph every ten miles
from Maine to California,
a fabrication of the unity between.
The manually created fullerene molecules
known in popular science as buckyballs
(made of twenty hexagons and twelve pentagons,
with a carbon atom at the vertex of each polygon
and a bond along each polygon edge)
inspired the brand-name for neodymium magnets
which, when swallowed, attract each other
causing damage throughout the alimentary canal.
348 lapses of motion.
What do we do with attraction and unity?
How do we save what lies between?
I wrote that wanting a declaration of love,
but got something else.
So, over chocolate croissants and tea,
I showed you simply how to follow the line
from Fuller to physics to toys, proud
of knowledge I’d sifted from the internet’s sand,
to which you, no fool, replied with a story
about a couple you knew who drew and repelled
each other like constantly rotating magnets.
While you spoke I watched your eyes blink,
and the way your fingers tore apart
the croissant or cradled the spoon in your tea,
and I realized the shortest distance
between two points is still a line
unifying how much we have
with how little we keep.
Poetry and Gender 101
I enter the classroom with my beard
trimmed, combed, and balmed to a sheen
by something that smells of redwood to complement
the bourbon-and-cedar soap whose ghost
lingers on my skin, and the “Oak Smoke” deodorant,
and the shampoo named for some forest god—
you’re right, of course, it’s too much wood,
the essences of too many phallic objects
smeared across my body, the musk
too masculine, or so I was promised.