The Molecular Level

With crutches and ropes, 

her brothers helped her 

scale the steeple of 


Swinging past the clock, 

like from flying trapeze, 

this nameless woman 

reached the cross 

and rang the lone bell. 

Around the corner, 

on Rue Sophie-Germain, 

named for that jilted 


you sat drinking your coffee, 

drinking in the atmosphere, 

replying to emails, 

checking your account. 

I watched her swing 

from the steeple as you 

studied Archimedes, 

Fermat’s Last Theorem, 

the royalist Cauchy. 

I wasted time staring at her 

flight, and you read 

Recherches sur la Theorie des Surfaces 


I glanced back. 

Our eyes met again as 

if never before. 

The chemical bond strengthened 

and true. 

A heteronuclear connection. 

Atom upon atom, 

we exist in the same moment. 

We exist in the same 

infinite life. 

Neither created nor 


our love is elastic. 

We learn of the melting 

Blackfoot Glacier 

and Schrodinger’s equation. 

The magnetics of our 

molecular bond attracting us 

again… again.

Suddenly, the ropes break, 

the crutches fall 

to the asphalt below. 

The nameless woman 

Lands with motionless 

broken neck. 

Inconnue on the police report, 

like Sophie Germain on 

The Eiffel Tower. 

Le Figaro

 suggested her right arm 

was replaced by the scales 

and toes of a chicken, 

shrunken in her sleeve, 

reaching for her crutch. 

It was never proven 

nor was that on the official 


You laughed it off on the 

surface and on 

the molecular level.

Andre Peltier

Andre F. Peltier is a Lecturer III at Eastern Michigan University where he has taught African American Literature, Afrofuturism, Science Fiction, Poetry, and Freshman Composition since 1998. He lives in Ypsilanti, MI with his wife, children, turtles, dog, and cat. His poetry is forthcoming in The Great Lakes Review, La Piccioletta Barca, Big Whoopie Deal, Prospectus, and an anthology from Quillkeepers Press. In his free time, he obsesses about soccer and comic books. Twitter: @aandrefpeltier

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