What Spins Down
by Michael T. Young
I listen to a physicist on a podcast
explain quantum entanglement: he says
to think of it as two particles striking each other
and flying off in opposite directions, but now,
by knowing the direction of one
we can know the direction of the other
because they’re entangled.
And I think
of Ahmaud Arbery, a young black man,
like a particle, jogging down a suburban road,
flecks of sunlight stippling his body through the trees,
until he meets up with another particle:
Gregory McMichael, running in the opposite
direction, with a gun.
The physicist says
that electrons spin up or down and when
I observe one spin up, another one of me
somewhere also observes it spin down
and that both these realities exist,
both these selves.
So, I think of that other Arbery,
the one who went on jogging, enjoying
the warm day, spinning up to his porch
like an electron. I want to meet him,
to know what kind of world lets him live.
But the physicist tells me I can’t talk
to those others, our worlds are forever
separate, can never know each other,
and my Ahmaud Arbery
always spins down.
Michael T. Young’s third full-length collection, The Infinite Doctrine of Water, was longlisted for the Julie Suk Award. His previous collections are The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost and Transcriptions of Daylight. He has received a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and his chapbook, Living in the Counterpoint, received the Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award. His poetry has been featured on Verse Daily and The Writer’s Almanac. It has also appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals including Banyan Review, Gargoyle Magazine, The Inflectionist Review, Talking River Review, and Valparaiso Poetry Review.