An Idea Making Its Way
Jeff Hardin

An Idea Making Its Way

After the end arrives, it’s easy
to believe there will be daffodils
or at least stunned people walking
around with all the gifts they
intended to give away but didn’t.
Likely we won’t know we’re living
in an aftermath as we try to decide
on two-for-one specials and whether
that extra year in graduate school
led to the insomnia that leads now
to pilfering criticism of Dickinson,
none of which is applicable to
a single conversation. I used to think
being alive was like sticking my
whole face into evening primrose,
but now I think, nah, that’s too
poetic for what really happens:
getting honked at in crosswalks,
dozing slack-jawed in coffee shops,
and misremembering half the names
of people known for two decades.
What hope is there, really, for one
idea to make its way unscathed
through the hearts of a people
who long ago got paired up with
the wrong lab partner and never
learned oxidation and reduction.
Some people, some words, some
moments are electron acceptors
and change our bonds. Let go.
Let gone be no longer present.
The present is forever arriving,
a conversion, a conversation,
a honeycomb of light in a particle
accelerator where you and I
and all our words collide to amen
how and when and why over
and over again and again until
the mind relents, until the mind
repents and enters in to what
time becoming is and is and is.

Jeff Hardin

is the author of five collections of poetry: Fall Sanctuary (Nicholas Roerich Prize); Notes for a Praise Book (Jacar Press Book Award); Restoring the Narrative (Donald Justice Prize); Small Revolution; and No Other Kind of World (X. J. Kennedy Prize). The New Republic, The Hudson Review, The Southern Review, Southwest Review, North American Review, The Gettysburg Review, Poetry Northwest, Hotel Amerika, and Southern Poetry Review have published his poems. He teaches at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, Tennessee.