So They Say— They Finally Nailed— the Proton’s Size— & Hope— Dies—
by Rosebud Ben-Oni

but love does not, Menelle Sebastien. 
Of all the afflictions 
& luck, 
all the sums & paradoxes, 
& gravitons that add up 
to more minus 
than plus, 
I promise that love 
is often as inconsiderate as it is just 
because actual love, 
I imagine, 
is a wave function 
that isn’t restricted 
to being 
in any one place 
at one time. 
No, love must 
be a superposition 
with a measurement problem, 
but don’t worry, 
I won’t get into alternative 
realities & how a single judgement 
from one can so easily 
dissolve 
whom, 
or what, 
she’s sizing up—                & yet, 

                              when experts speak of capturing 
vastness at such a small scale, 
I can only see the passenger
pigeon
flitting into living 
sequoia trees, 
& every blue whale 
sinking into the great 
barrier 
reef 
& all the threats each are facing, 
all these gigantic things 
that beat 
within the size 
of a subatomic being 
that is the proton, 
which is not fundamental 
as love 
ought to be— 

                            & maybe it does all 
add up 
to a single hush. 
Like how we try to escape 
what makes us human by trying 
to make sense of what made us 
human. 
These days, 
when I think on the proton, 
I only observe love 
as entanglement 
in which we bias & sway & touch 
over great, 
great 
distances. 
But like I said, 
I won’t get into it
like the quark’s fate 
& all the possible quantum trickery 
out there, 
lying in wait. 
I don’t believe hope dies 
just because old measurements got it 
wrong & there are no secret lives 
between protons & muons 
that cause the former to change 
in size, 
silencing all the music 
that drives us 
toward mystery 
rather than discovery. 
Maybe just thank 
electronic hydrogen, 
since, for now, there’s an answer, 
even if it feels like a dead end— 

                                                       because I’d bet everything
                                                       that at least something began 
                                                       over this:                         jounce, 
                                                       butterfly & cower :: 
                                                       over & oeuvre, 
                                                       greedy, hunger, 
                                                       & sour— 

                 until aching 
                 each other’s spoils, 
                 stripping bare 
                 their delicate 
                 & deadly 
                 creaking 
                 coils—

Happy Sunday.

Alan Hovhaness: Lousadzak (Concerto per pianoforte e orchestra d’archi n.1) op.48 (1944)