Falling In Love with the Mad Scientist

by Jessica Rae Bergamino

She says that beneath the microscope
lust looks just like hydrogen
building the world with weightlessness.
Above the lens, it looks like a woman
who wants to touch the sun
more than she wants to touch me.
Space expands and she goes with it,
worrying formulas to dissolve
her tethers to the granite below.
I understand the late nights working;
you can’t measure gravity on Mars
from a kitchen table, no matter
how neat the napkins are folded,
how full the shakers of salt.
Lowell wanted to get there so badly
he imagined canals of sweet water
churning in cities populated by saints
waiting with open arms to greet him
and call him brother. Kepler dreamed
of carving his name in the eye of the moon
his mother was drowned for worshipping.
In 1939, six boys in Pasadena
blew up a tin can and started NASA.
Particles split, rejoin, press against space.
Microorganisms mutate as a branch of sea
vegetable floats upon a wave.
I wash the dishes, make the tea, do the things
to make her love me enough to want to stay.
Distance, like desire, is always relative.

JESSICA RAE BERGAMINO is the author of several chapbooks, most recently The Desiring Object or Voyager Two Explains to the Gathering of Stars How She Came to Glow Among Them (Sundress Publications). Individual poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Gulf Coast, Slice, Poetry Daily, and West Branch.