Sunday, August 23, 2020

Schrödinger’s Moon

“Nature doesn’t give a damn
For what physicists think
Is pretty math,” said Sabine.

Start with a moon and a myth
That makes its pulsing white disk
Narratively tractable.

Add myths—anthropomorphic
Demons and monsters—to taste.
Gender the moon as you please.

Mostly, people would stop there.
Some made a cult of counting.
Next thing you know—calendars.

Keep calendars long enough,
Down enough human lifespans,
Heavens, look at those patterns—

You can predict eclipses.
Maybe your moon’s still mythic,
But now you’ve got some traction,

A hook for kings’ attentions.
Look more closely. Grind lenses.
Correlate planets and tides.

Moons everywhere. Gravity.
A few generations of this
And someone’s on the surface,

Puffed up like armored popcorn,
Planting a flag in no wind.
Your moon’s one stone step to night.

Children, everyone knows this,
Give or take conspiracists.
But why? ask the physicists

In their imaginations.
Something remains half-finished.
Something’s a quarter complete.

Some penned calculations showed
The moon rose from them by halves
In vast superpositions

And other fun abstractions.
Tonight the moon’s sickle sets
Over mesas and harvests

The smoke that our narratives
Have raised as a puppet scrim,
Exposing us, bare and scared.

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