a nuclear physicist contemplates God

by John C. Mannone

I see glorious light—a gamma ray annihilating
in the presence of a heavy nucleus to take care
of that extra angular momentum—turn into a
couple of rest mass electrons: pair production.
And even as it flashes from the east all the way
to the west, my burdens are lightened, it’s easy
in Father’s house where there are many places
of rest—mansions. I’m flying to the gold
and sapphire blue throne with the photons
where all time stops. I rest from inexorably
unaccelerated inertial processions all the way
from the cradle to my grave. And I rise, lift
my voice with the singing stars. My tired heart
rests, it is no longer troubled.

John C. Mannone has poems in North Dakota Quarterly, Poetry South, Windhover, Braided Way, Spirit Fire Review, Credo Espoir, Heart of Flesh Literary Journal, and Scriblerus Arts Journal. He won the Impressions of Appalachia Creative Arts Contest in poetry (2020) and the Carol Oen Memorial Fiction Prize (2020). He was awarded a Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). He has three poetry chapbooks, and four full-length collections: Disabled Monsters (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2015), Flux Lines: The Intersection of Science, Love, and Poetry (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2022), Sacred Flute Iris Press, 2022), and Song of the Mountains (Middle Creek Publishing, forthcoming 2023). He’s been nominated for Pushcart, Rhysling, and Best of the Net awards. He edits poetry for Abyss & ApexSilver BladeLiquid Imagination, and American Diversity Report. A retired professor of physics, he lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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