Two Poems by Nicole Mason

Physical Theory: How to Trap a Physicist’s Formulaic Heart

Nicole Mason

He will try to calculate the outcome of your words

He will assign certain symbols to your frets / / to the organic slick of your desires

He will isolate your variables

The first equation will suggest your exigency

You will argue that Planck’s reduced constant is only valid if one considers the electric charge / / the heat / / of your co-dependency

You reckoned the moment of force months before through the tension of his exoskeleton / / through the more precise art of tarot / / of faith

You will find the coulomb of his heart by simply placing your ear on the smooth white of his belly 

You will find his system’s entropy by digging through his fissures / / wading through the meatloaf and blood of his cellulose entrails

He will find that he miscalculated the refractive index of your mania

You will show him how ridiculous it is to rely on dimensionless numbers

You will show him how to count the indentations your teeth left / / up his thighs / / down his back

Common Themes

Nicole Mason

I was snatched
out of the cornfield
when I was small slung up
like a sack of grain
he ran with me
the pregnant stalks
rubbing my face his shirt
smelling of all the good
in my grandmother’s
I don’t know why
he dropped me
and kept running
I just sat in the dirt
waiting for more

thirty years later and I wonder when
I accepted this lazaretto as mine and I wonder if
its coordinates are tattooed on my heart
or tongue or some other far-flung locale: 

through the mountains and glaciers
through the trees and green
through idiot flowers that look like sperm
regal and grasping
through lupines and black-eyed Susans 

the river has been running
alongside the train
for hours

Author’s Notes: I'm fascinated by notions of time and memory and how the one negotiates the other. Does the past exist? Sometimes I argue that it doesn't. We think of it as something that is tangible, but our memories are imperfect and we will never be able to reconstruct a past event perfectly: Specifics are omitted or changed; people say things that they may have never said. Our very self develops out of the past, out of these imperfect memories and I like to negotiate what is "real" in my poetry.


Nicole Mason received her MA in Literature from Northern Michigan University and is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at Western Michigan University. She is an assistant poetry editor at Third Coast Magazine and her poems have appeared in Midwestern Gothic, Slipstream, Atticus Review, Five:2:One, and others.