We’re This and We’re That, Aren’t We?

Now that the theoretical physicist slash cosmologist
has explained to me, has laid out in clean
even rows of logic

how every atom in my body
arrived from a star, a star
that blasted apart,
and the atoms of my left hand

originated from a different sun
than my right,

I can shine. I can go dark

recalling how my grandfather made
the vertical blinds rattle
when he shoved
my grandmother into them.

Startled in the yard, I turned to that sound,
from the flower bed my eyes were held by

the swaying blinds. It took a while for each
to line up
perfectly straight again, to tell myself

she slipped. Only then could I

return to stalking the butterflies.
My right hand was quick: reach and pinch.
I had so many soft wings that summer

between my thumb and index, so many of them
skewered on cactus needles.

I was a kid. I was cruel slash gentle.
He was cruel slash gentle.
He had witnessed my destroying
and I saw

across his creased face
empathy for them.

After his scolding I placed one dead one
inside the white envelope of a flower.

Under the sun it glowed. Under the moon,
more glowing.
More Poems by David Hernandez