★ ★ ★ ★


In Superposition

You are in superposition. Like Heisenberg’s
uncertainty, I cannot explain this void.
How you are in two places at once.
Like a particle, you disappear,
reappear, leaving no traces in between.
You move fast enough to fly
out of an atom; I dreamed of you leaving
and find you are gone.
I have shouted from the pier,
I saw you in the future!
And the water answered in ripples
wider than the sky.

I don’t entertain the high-speed
crash you said would take you.
I close my eyes, fasten your seatbelt
for love. I pass by a dive with a neon sign,
it calls me in for confession. I once fell
into your hands like a magic trick,
cast you under thick purple
smoke. With one finger I drew
a mark on your back, named the stars
in the sky our children.
Now I search for you
by the county line, the sky throws down
stardust and rubble. I ransack my place
for evidence; how last week
I was your girl,
how I walked around in your sandals.
The bed sheets keep hearing
your name as I sleep – I dream
that your body floats.
What they pulled from the river
had your face.

In Downtown, I devour poems
like rum-soaked delicacies.
I try to swim in someone else’s pain;
today it may drown me.
I am in Rite Aid – it reminds me
of the good times. It reminds me
of a Black & Mild, the plastic tip red
between your lips. It reminds me
of Bonnie & Clyde at the checkout
line, in the dead of night.
I am in Los Angeles, to be awakened
from sleep. I once learned
you can get sick from thinking.
It’s true. I have dreamed,
I found a steel jacket on the street
clouded in sweet scent of sulfur.

A lady on the escalator looks me in the eye.
I open my mouth to scream, Answer me!
I can’t stop the train.
I can’t stop the howling on the inside.
I can’t stop my heart from bursting, pulling
the emergency brake.
I’d never blame you for the mess,
the blood on the windows, what’s left
of this muscle when it lands
on someone else’s lap. I’d clean it up
on my knees and apologize.
If particles move the opposite ways,
I am heading home. I have dreamed
that I greet you in space.
You bear my mark. Your heart will burn.
Sadness pours out of me in a torrent.

A girl I knew fell in love with a man
who died in her arms
shortly after – how do you come back from that?
I don’t know what feels worse:
that you have ceased to exist
or you are doing this on purpose.
I have dreamed,
you pull bullets from your heart,
then open your palms for proof.
I have learned,
the loneliest place is an automated voice:
It is not possible to connect your call.
Please try again later.

I close my eyes, you are here;
I open, you are gone.
You are a particle, a wave.
Schrödinger’s cat is dead and alive.
I blink, this didn’t happen.
We never met.
I never spoke the wrong thing.
You never left.
I rewrite. I revise. I prune the vine
into a story where you come through that door
like you are coming home.
I wash your clothes. I make the bed.
I spin us back like a cassette
until I’ve spliced this universe split from the seams.

Terhi K. Cherry is a poet, writer, and scholar with a Ph.D. in Psychology. Her poems appear in ONTHEBUS, Vox Viola, and elsewhere, and she is working on her first poetry collection. Originally from Finland, having lived and worked in London for 20 years, Terhi now resides in Los Angeles. She is a member of Los Angeles Poets & Writers Collective and in training as a Certified Applied Poetry Facilitator with the International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy. You can find her at www.terhikcherry.com.


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