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Pulling the Thread
by Ben Parker
He used to say that with enough attempts
the true consequences of any act
would be revealed, like wallpaper, peeled
discloses the room’s unseen history.
And so, at parties, in bus queues, on trains
he would seize at loose threads on jumpers and pull
and, as far as I know, the thread would break
each time and he’d get shouted at, or punched.
But once, I was told, the cotton connected
with a memory of spider’s webs
and remained intact while the jumper, loosed
from its moorings, unfurled onto the floor.
He remained calm and continued to tug,
teasing out the cord like you’d coax the truth
from a taciturn child stood, embarrassed,
over the broken remains of a vase.
And then the trick, the silent switch from classic
Newtonian physics to a quantum playground
as cord catches on tendon, tendon on nerve
and with the quick release of a pulled root
sinew un-spooled and flesh and bone
was spun into perfect, fibrous yarn.
Dust motes abandoned Brownian motion,
protons twisted free from the atoms drag
and, if he hadn’t quit the scene and fled
the whole Möbius strip of existence
would have unfurled and fallen into line.
The last I heard, he was refining this theory,
going house to house, lifting up carpets,
opening draws, searching for answers.
You can read more from Ben Parker on his website.
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