Cartoon Physics, part 1

By Nick Flynn b. 1960 Nick Flynn
Children under, say, ten, shouldn't know
that the universe is ever-expanding,   
inexorably pushing into the vacuum, galaxies

swallowed by galaxies, whole

solar systems collapsing, all of it
acted out in silence. At ten we are still learning

the rules of cartoon animation,

that if a man draws a door on a rock
only he can pass through it.   
Anyone else who tries

will crash into the rock. Ten-year-olds
should stick with burning houses, car wrecks,   
ships going down—earthbound, tangible

disasters, arenas

where they can be heroes. You can run
back into a burning house, sinking ships

have lifeboats, the trucks will come
with their ladders, if you jump

you will be saved. A child

places her hand on the roof of a schoolbus,   
& drives across a city of sand. She knows

the exact spot it will skid, at which point
the bridge will give, who will swim to safety
& who will be pulled under by sharks. She will learn

that if a man runs off the edge of a cliff
he will not fall

until he notices his mistake.

"Cartoon Physics, part 1" by Nick Flynn from Some Ether. Copyright 2000 by Nick Flynn. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press.

Source: Some Ether (Graywolf Press, 2000)

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Poet Nick Flynn b. 1960

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Sciences, Living, Youth, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

 Nick  Flynn

Biography

Poet and memoirist Nick Flynn was born in Scituate, Massachusetts. His debut poetry collection, Some Ether (2000), won the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, for which the judges’ statement read: “These poems establish their emotional authority through their very movement—their wayward, whispering music. At once reckless and demure, outrageous and delicate. . . .” Most of the poems in Some Ether focus on Flynn’s tumultuous family life . . .

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SUBJECT Sciences, Living, Youth, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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