Even the Glass Will Scald

At every stoplight
       brake pads shed
                                microscopic flakes
                                of copper, zinc, and lead;
in every beacon—
        a shine requiring
                                 something to burn.
Filaments, maybe
        or the glass that holds the window’s light.
        I, for one, make no claim
                                to mastery over matter;
even physicists cannot decide
why glass is not a solid:
          The particles
          are in a traffic jam,
                                       not crystallized, but waiting.

          To be clear, all glass is liquid;
          all glass is liquid to be clear.
So, every light is in an ocean
and each electric tongue
          licks behind a stream. I am waiting
          to be recognized as dangerous,
                                     but just because the light
                                      is red, that doesn’t mean
I’ll notice; it doesn’t mean
I won’t accelerate
        even if I do.
Stopped, or not
        everywhere the lights burn.
                                     The window is still against the wall
                                      and on my waist, your grip.
We pump like pistons;
you whisper always, as if love
         were liquids ever in motion
         not the spent copper or
                                    what causes the tungsten’s hiss
                                    when a lamplight’s coil pops.

Zach Linge’s publications include poems recently or forthcoming in such journals as PoetryNew England ReviewPuerto del Sol, and The Adroit Journal, and a refereed article in a special issue of African American Review on Percival Everett. Linge is the recipient of a scholarship to the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, is an Adroit 2020 Djanikian Finalist, and serves as Editor-in-Chief of Southeast Review

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