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Poetry #474
(published February 18, 2010)
Inside a Nuclear Reactor
by Alice Mullen
Whole lives begin and end
in a thousandth
      of a thousandth
           of a thousandth of a second.
and death,
all occur in infinitesimal portions.

Protons give sentimental tokens
to one another,
through dancing electrons,
spinning in joyful abandon
to the music of quark logic.

Schrödinger's symphony builds to a cacophony.
Rhythm breaks down to decay the choreography.

Neutrons, split apart—with the grief of separation grow cynical.
Unstable and paranoid they guard their neutrinos from others.

Resentment and regret grow exponentially;
to radiate outward,
seeping into the ground water.

Alice Mullen lives in Lovettsville, VA. Her work has been published in the Barcelona Review, The Dead Mule, and The Blue Ridge Leader.

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