Freedom is a matter of degree, force grappling
With stability, eccentricity of motion against
Grounding substance. I look over your shoulder,
Slip away for a moment from the unbearable
Blue of your eyes. Behind you, a man is being fired.
Expression stiff, eyes out of contact, another man
In a suit pushes a brown envelope across
The extruded plastic tabletop. The fired man
Pulls it toward him. Their fingers don’t touch.
He gets up awkwardly, with a shriek
That’s only his chair shoved back after all.
Crisis is muscle stretched taut over bone,
Strength in abeyance, seeking an agonist
To set it in motion. You put your hand
Over mine and I recoil into awareness of us,
Of your calloused fingers articulating points.
We stare as if we’ve never seen hands before.
You linger over the contact, then slowly
Take your hand away. I breathe.
This poem was in part born from the work for another. I was researching scientific terms, and was struck by how many have both a meaning specific to science and one in more general use. Several examples are scattered through this poem.