Rachel Contreni Flynn’s Poem “The Physics Of The Inevitable”

Dear Reader,

It’s National Poetry Month, and I’ve been celebrating. I’ve enjoyed poetry open mics, (I hosted Third Thursday Open Mic); drank Irish red ale at Liquid Poetry, sponsored by Wyncoop Brewery and led by Denver Poet Laureate Chris Ransick; attended Cowboy Poetry night at Broomfield Auditorium; participated in a journal writing workshop presented by Carolyn Jennings and Karen Douglass, and I have led an impromptu writing session to create Etheree poems.

I’ll use what’s left of this month to share some of my favorite poems with you. I’ll start with “The Physics Of The Inevitable,” from Rachel Contreni Flynn’s poetry collection entitled Ice, Mouth, Song (Dorset,VT: Tupelo Press, 2005). Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Stephen Dunn selected this book for the 2003 Tupelo Press Dorset Prize.

The Physics Of The Inevitable

My hometown mourns the farm boy/who kicked a cob stuck/in the combine’s flywheel,/and I imagine his foot swinging just as he was thinking/I know better than this,/but it was too great, the weight/of his crusted boot,/not to follow through./And I think

of the Viking ship pitching/in its greasy groove all summer/at Lake Schaefer, and how the carny said/It don’t hardly take any juice at all to run this ride—/once set to rock, it just about/went on its own.

And I’ve made love like this,/the whole time thinking/how I wasn’t/the whole time my mind watching my body/as a thing in motion but not a mystery,/more like math—more like the arc of a burlap sack/tossed from Moots Creek Bridge,/then the heavy spiral/of rocks and cats.

Whenever I read this poem I remember I’ve forgotten the boy in my hometown, the Manthe family’s only son, who kicked the corncob stuck in the columbine. The flywheel grabbed his jeans, pulled him in, and ripped off his leg. My brother, a volunteer EMT, couldn’t save him. My stomach remembers too; it feels as heavy as a sack of drowning cats.

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