Victoria Nordlund, Collapse

Singularity

So today I read that scientists just discovered
a black hole in the Milky Way of such mass

it should not exist. They are not sure why
this super vacuum at the core of our system

didn’t stop gobbling up gas and stars long
before it reached this point. And I try

to wrap my brain around this and event horizons
and regimes from which light can’t escape

to infinity and how facts are just best guesses
’cause mostly everything is above

everyone’s heads as I continue scrolling
past GIFS and memes on Reddit

that I don’t get either. My battery on my Galaxy
is at 5 percent. I am alone and cold, huddled

under a throw that doesn’t reach the ends
of my feet, trying to find something

on TV other than the impeachment hearings
and 90 Day Fiancé and How It’s Made, discovering

another hole in my leather couch, wondering
how it formed, waiting for the collapse.

Misalignment in the Fourth Dimension

My bunion quietly developed
when I still had your thick toenails to clip.
Small and soft,
it was easy to forget.

Now this angular bulge creates holes
in my shoes —
it is curious that I can’t pinpoint the creation.
You never saw the wedges

I got last year. I do not settle
for ill-fitting ones anymore. You see, Mom,
I listen now — the hurt is too much —
it bends bones.

You did see me a few times
in this yellow shirt with blue flowers.
The one that camouflages
my folds well.

I have not washed it yet.
I notice a wine stain
at the bottom.
It will be difficult to remove.

I remember wanting to keep
strands of your silver
hair I discovered in a brush —
my hair [I have lost so much] is blond

now. You never liked it red.
And I imagine your feet here in this space —
they have not stopped changing.
It’s funny how the past [de]forms

present,
how there is divinity
even in this growth
that is still a part of you —

I have earned this collapse.

Assessment

So you have heard all the tricks
and conventional wisdom of how
to effectively fill in the bubbles.
You used to tell yourself you could always erase
your choices —
come back to the ones you didn’t know —
’cause you were never one to leave shit blank.
But there was never enough time,
you never changed any of those guesses,
you overthought and obsessed
and regretted even the easy ones
you thought you got right.

Now there are tests where the questions
change after each response. You know the ones
where you wish you could go back to the beginning
but you can’t —
soon all of your selections seem wrong.
And you keep swearing none of the above
is always the answer, but it never
seems to be an option — so you
begin dialing it in just to finish,
wish you could eliminate yourself
from the process, convince yourself
you stopped because

A. There are no right answers.
B. There is only ever one answer.
C. There is no one left to correct it.
D. All of the above.

Core Beliefs

1-2 mg/kg is a fatal oral dose of cyanide for a 154 lbs. (70 kg) man. You would need to finely chew and eat about 200 apple seeds, or about 40 apple cores, to receive a fatal dose. (Healthline)

I remember the first time
I saw the fucked-up way
you ate apples.

Teeth breaking skin
followed by
the flesh, stalk, seeds

until nothing was left.
See, the core is an illusion.
You tell me you have always

done it this way, convinced
that it’s normal to chew
the bitter remains.

It takes ten years
for an apple to grow from a seed,
and I imagine an orchard

burgeoning in the pit of your gut,
wait for the moment
you swallow yourself whole.

Victoria Nordlund’s poetry collection Binge Watching Winter on Mute was published by Main Street Rag in June 2019. She is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize Nominee, whose work has appeared in PANK Magazine, Rust+Moth, Gone Lawn, Pidgeonholes, Maudlin House, and elsewhere. Visit her website.

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