Bio Note: Hi, everyone, I'm Lori Howe, and I live in Laramie, Wyoming, where we call ourselves "Laramigos," and where I teach in the Honors College at the University of Wyoming. Thanks so much for reading; I am excited to share this new poetic form, the cadralor, with you. Check it out if the form interests you, at gleampoets.org. It's an honor to be part of the V-V community.
Cadralor #8: “Electromagnetism and Other Holy Waves,
for Michael Faraday (1791-1867)”
1. Electromagnetism is a fluid substance, cresting like the ocean; pure energy, unwicked from wire: no outer shell, no ether. Faraday walked in green parks and city squares, hands clasped, pockets full of mint and bread: “Force is the only substance.” He spent 20 minutes a day shining his own shoes, staring into gleaming black, seeing into the field of space. As he slept, lines of force detached from the dielectric, became tubes; they stretched out across the chasm, aquamarine Sirens made only of light. 2. In cheesemaking, rennet is a holy change agent, a conjurer, an equation. If you know energy, you can calculate wavelength, frequency. You can know the wet certainty of whey, the skirling peat of the cave, the stalagmitic longevity of Gruyere. You can rub yourself with rosemary and salt, you can melt weightless into another’s sweetness: “The amounts of bodies which are equivalent to each other in their ordinary chemical action have equal quantities of electricity naturally associated with them.” 3. Water doesn’t decompose into hydrogen and oxygen simultaneously. You only see it in half reactions: the spill of tangerine light across the harbor, the slightest smudge of the surface, a rising of bodies into early morning mist as night evaporates, a few mercurial peels of moonlight left to slide and pool among the lichen, caught by tides. On the white sailboat with the blue stripe, a couple shares a blanket, enmoored, steam rising from their yellow cups. 4. Space is not a vast, cold emptiness, a nothing; it is a field that foams like the sea at Cape Breton, froth and chaos, when it folds itself together with time, fluctuating like spangled monarchs. Van Gogh understood the liminal spaces that shade the inside edges of color, he painted tightropes, suspension bridges, between his strokes: in amongst the raining of heavenly violets, whole dim passageways leading into spacetime, into the foam. 5. F is the Faraday Constant, first valued by weighing silver after an electrochemical reaction. It is not to be confused with the farad, or with honeycomb, or with the cinnamon scent of a woman’s hair, though it is that extraordinary. In Fiji, in 1918, a single whale’s tooth was a common dowry. Imagine the young woman, her hands filled with an ivory tube the size of her torso, the story of her entire life to be carried in such a holy, aquatic singing.
©2021 Lori Howe
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