Science & Technology
Physics Exam Answer Sheet

1. In the wilderness
        between center and edge
        the vortex is born.
2. Distinguish between
        not knowing
        and not knowing:
        one at the root of all,
     one an order
        so immense we
        have to stand
        in another universe
     to glimpse its outline.
3. Wait. Long. Enough.
4. A: Distantly I hear
        water dropping
     onto porcelain.
     B: Inside
        are instants
        of silence.
5. The weakness
     of the theory:
        the constancy
        of “chance,”
        Einstein said,
        which “does not
        get us any closer.”
6. A boulder.
        Two gold pins.
        Three feathers.
        And then:
        an owl,
        flying away,
        flying far away.
7. My hands tracing
     the hollow of your throat.
8. Abandoned to the dance.
9. Instead, recurrence:
        never the same thing exactly,
        never exactly the same,
        but repeating the same thing,
        never exactly the same thing,
        but repeating, recurring, repeating.
10. As any instrument
        that translates
     noise, chaos
     music, order.

Photo Credit:US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Copyright 2003, 2008,  Patricia Monaghan

Member of the interdisciplinary faculty at DePaul University in Chicago, Patricia Monaghan teaches science and literature. Physics Exam Answer Sheet, part of a pair of poems titled "Examination and Answer Sheet", is from her book, Dancing with Chaos (Salmon Poetry, 2003). She is also the author of three other books of poetry and has won a Pushcart Prize (2004) for one of her essays on physics.

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