Vegetarian Physics by David Clewell

The tofu that’s shown up overnight in this house is frightening
proof of the Law of Conservation: matter that simply cannot be
created or destroyed. Matter older than Newton,
who knew better than to taste it. Older than Lao-tzu,
who thought about it but finally chose harmonious non-interference.
I’d like to be philosophical too, see it as some kind of pale
inscrutable wisdom among hot dogs, the cold chicken,
the leftover deviled eggs, but I’m talking curdled
soybean milk. And I don’t have that kind of energy.

I’d rather not be part of the precariously metaphorical
wedding of modern physics and the ancient Eastern mysteries.
But still: whoever stashed the tofu in my Frigidaire
had better come back for it soon. I’m not Einstein
but I’m smart enough to know a bad idea when I see it
taking up space, biding its time.
Like so much that demands our imperfect attention
amid the particle roar of the world: going nowhere, fast.

From: Collins, Billy, Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, 2003, Random House Trade Paperbacks: New York, p. 158.
(https://archive.org/details/poetry18000bill/)

Date: 1994

By: David Clewell (1955-2020)

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