Δx Δp > H/2π

Emily Franklin

So what if Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle has her in bed with her legs splayed like parentheses? Wasn't it true that no thing, atom, person, disease, cupcake, caterpillar, jockstrap, prime minister, diagnosis, has a definite position, trajectory, or momentum? You can't try and pin a thing down because trying to force it to be stable in any one place makes its momentum less graspable. Or something like that. And if you couldn't precisely pin a particle down, who knew where it might end up? Einstein disagreed, but fuck him. Though not really because who said that about Einstein? She'd bought a poster of the guy, black and white, for her dorm room, a place that was so removed from her adult life right now, the four walls and college futon annexed to the rabbit warren of pre-now, back in her singularity, before her children and feeling that her vagina could fit an SUV. Before she'd even had kale! And she couldn't help but worry about not eating enough dark, leafy greens. She likes kale salad and it's not difficult to make and if she prepped more vegetables on Sundays they would be at-the-ready in the fridge all week and the kids could reach for them as desired. After she cleaned the fridge - and the sponges. She ought to microwave them to get rid of bacteria. Wasn't that what she read? Although, come to think of it, too much worry about germs wasn't good and letting your kids eat dinner with unwashed hands might be better than using the antimicrobial soap. The alcohol was drying anyhow. And now that she was forty, the great swath of skin on her wide forehead was flaking, or appeared to her to be. Ophelia felt she should invest in skin care –a regime or lotion at least, take the time to slather herself right after showering. But, truth be told, she didn't shower every day—it was time-consuming, especially blow-drying and her hair looked like crap without it—and if she didn't shower she was less stressed about the time it took to park while visiting Leo in the hospital.
     And she needed to be there every day—sometimes more than once, even if just to see him sleeping. It was quiet watching him, the slant blue light, the only view out his window a brick wall. His face looked waterlogged from meds, but it was calm. Watching his soft blanket rise and sink made her realize how little sleep she was getting now—and adults really required a solid eight hours. The eighth was most important so even if you got seven, you weren't doing it right and then made up for it with coffee, which it turned out was good for you—two cups, no more no less—for optimizing memory and fighting stroke. Exercise also helped—even adding steps to recycle the cardboard and plastic.  Ophelia's husband had requested another extra large green bin and he'd been so pleased, doing his job for the environment along with replacing the light bulbs in the house so that the entire structure seemed lighted by gnomes, half-lit and dusty until right before bed when the bulbs finally reached max output at which point it was time to try and sleep.
     But there were always more things to add to the list—don't speak of body issues in front of daughters or read magazines with tweaked and smoothed images that were—hadn't she read this—actually altering the brain chemistry for young girls. Plus the magazines were paper, wasteful, though reading on line wasn't great for macular degeneration and other ocular issues and who wanted one more thing—glasses—to have to remember to pack every day? Plus glasses might make her feel older which wasn't terrible—she's happy where she is and needs to lean in lean back push onward and show this—but glasses might make her feel sexless and that would make her less present in the moment.
     And the moment was where the yoga instructor told her to be, right here, now, even if now sucked. Even if she longed for beer hazy days before a job and kids and marriage and glass instead of plastic. And marriage, conventional, of course, but now—thankfully!—open to even her brother and his partner except they don't want to actually get married—but not all convention is bad. Plus, marriage models healthy relationships for the kids so you had to be affectionate but not so much so as to exclude the kids or make them uncomfortable—who wanted their son or daughter to grow up and write some tell-all memoir about how their father was all over their mom, sliding his palms under her cotton skirt right there on the repurposed reclaimed wood of the dining room table? She needed to do kegels to keep tight and so as not to become incontinent later as well as get enough but not too much vitamin D and B12 and eat blueberries which helped with memory issues later in life and which she needed because what if like Grandma Molly she lost it young which reminded her to figure out once and for all did she want to be buried? Did people still buy plots? She sure as shit wasn't going to be dropped in the ground at the orthodox cemetery where her father was, stone after stone placed on the grave's marker each year until what, a pile of rubble and remembered conversations built a wall of some kind inside you and aside from crying a couple times, alone, in the car, you were fine. So what, cremation then?
     She needed to get to sleep because all the thinking didn't help. People needed sleep. If there were no clocks or natural light people slept something like eighteen hours per day. Like an infant! Like tumbling bears, the drunk Russian ones she'd read about who huffed aviation fuel. Like a newborn with its mottled neck and skull soft developing like ripe fruit, a child she'd never let out of her sight. But she didn't want any more infants. They were out of that phase. No cribs or strollers. Goodbye to all the gear that cluttered the entryway. They should hire those de-junkers who come and clear away unwanted stuff. But not the books, those were important because the number one way to raise readers was to have books in the house. Although they gathered dust and dust mites which wouldn't help with the inherited asthma. She'd brought Leo's inhaler to the hospital, forgetting that it was a hospital and therefore filled with inhalers or other medicine that might or might not fix her son.
     Would he ever be fixed? Well, at least the place was clean. Except for those bacterial strains that nothing could touch, clever germs that outsmarted everyone. But at home she could damn well get rid of the dust mites, as long as she was consistent about cleaning. And about sleep hygiene, getting to bed at the same time with cool air and no screens shedding their ugly rays. It wasn't just sleep for her but being very regular with sleep patterns for the kids, constantly regimented with reading, with discipline, with yard care because the crab grass was virulent and likely to come back as were the termites and voles. What are voles? She hadn't known until the rodent guy had come.
     Now that was a job she didn't want. Didn't want her kids to have. Who wanted to grow up and deal with voles every day? Unless it would make her kids happy. If it were to satisfy them then fine—after all not everyone had to be a neurosurgeon. Would Leo grow up to be anything? Be in the present, Ophelia! Be here now even though her husband thought a bit of anticipatory grief was good, just in case. Just in case what? She'd tried it but also had the realization that grief might make her do stupid things. For example, have wine every night when she was usually an only now and then drinker (did this make her less fun? Yes, but perhaps only in the eyes of her brother or Astrid, who probably drank too much, in fact did—she wanted to cut down but couldn't). And it was Astrid's husband who looked at her a little too long when she'd worn the cowboy hat, called her Tex, and then slipped a firm and sure hand around her ribs—right up near her breasts—when they'd gone for dinner at Astrid's house. Is that what grief did? Made you drink and ogle someone else's wife (because Astrid and her husband had their own grief, unimaginable, serpentine and invasive) or made you consider—really consider—making a move over coffee or a kid's birthday party right after she'd come back from a long visit with Leo, holding his forearm as though it were a banister. Was she going up or down?
     She should spend more time outside, even if only to sit and stare at nothing.  She was always late to things now after a lifetime of embarrassingly early arrivals. Traffic coming back from the hospital. It would save fuel and be better for her health to bike there and back. More time consuming but she wouldn't have to work out so it would balance, right? And bikes sent a good message to her other kids about the environment and health and economics. She had an old bike from before, but it worked so no reason to buy a new one—and she wouldn't have to fight other parents or hospital staff for a parking space. That was it. A bike was the solution. Maybe one with a basket! She'd read about disabled kids weaving bike baskets. See, no reason for sleep aides. She just had to allow the thoughts, and find the solution. Bike with a basket, each one woven by a child who may or may not be okay or learn to live with whatever ability or issue or blessing, over, under, under, over, until the thing was whole and ready and attached. That was it.





I like the intersection of science/medicine and narrative/writing (possibly this is what happens when you are a poet born to a family of doctors).  So... [this poster] and being plagued by [these] [articles] not to mention [these].

I happen to live in a part of the world with resources that make it possible for me to change (which we often read as make better) almost everything.  But we can't guarantee fixing damage, or trauma, completely, so I wrote about the cycle of thinking there's one thing, or lots of things, on our lists but maybe those are just covers for what we cannot control.