I do not understand the colossus of chemistry: the turn toward plastics, the giant molecule, see-through containers for liquids, what makes rubber rubbery. He knows I should; he knows I am a scientist. I tell him I do not know why records hold music; I tell him the scientific name for Wood Sorrel. "Your brain is a mountain of wood," he says, "reduced from hefty logs to chips roughly the size of Corn Flakes." I like the way he says roughly. I keep saying it over and over, roughly. I remember the clack of the train wheels, the sway of the car, the people who would not look me in the eye, the people who would not stop staring at my eyes. "Every plant is a storehouse of cellulose," I say, "but there is nothing living in my room, only recollection." I remember: his fingers on my stomach, his mouth on my neck; the television bouncing light on the wall; the sound of his key in the lock. "You are a cross section," he says. "You are a hemlock chip, magnified 8,000 times under a microscope." I tell him I am Nature's polymer, one of two families. "I am Celluloid," I say. "I am inflammable." He says I am a cell, compressed into an odd form. "Your center is an elongated banana," he says. I know each cell can be seen in cross section at a different point. I know each cell is pressed into its center by a wall.
When he calls tomorrow he will say my center is like a rectangle. I will say it is more like a triangle. Then I will play my records loud and watch the needle scratch a circular groove through the soundtrack of Urban Cowboy. "Sometimes triangular shapes are helpful," he will say. "Sometimes they relieve the monotony of a circular rhythm." I will tell him he is too precise, that he has received too much education. "Your language no longer makes sense to the rest of the world," I will say. Then I will doodle the body of a resting moth on a pad of paper I took from his room, its wings perfect triangles, repeated and counter-pointed. I will walk down the street in my raincoat, whistling a tune I can barely remember. I will notice the triangles in the shapes of the leaves, in the bud scales and feathers, in the wings of a bird, each singular triangle differentiated. I will notice a single leaf, rolled into a cradle, its edges drawn together with silk.
[Karen Ashburner does this]
[Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/gunpowder.html]
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