Transcendental Love

Apparently, our love

has been reading Emerson

and believes it is self-reliant.


We, who have been part and particle

of each other, daily, nightly,

minutely merging (your hair covering

my skin, my tongue speaking your thoughts,

your oversoul in my underwear,

my hammer on your anvil and your foot

in my stirrup), now sit rooms apart

and prefer not to


Will you assume

what I assume

as I celebrate myself and sing myself?

Do your atoms, belonging equally to me

as mine to you, resonate with the same frequency?


Or does your heart vibrate to that iron string—

trusting yourself, exploring the sacredness

of your own mind, your own body?


If we must each triumph in our own

principles, can we not yet hope

that Whim will lead us each

through each

other, that the

currents of the Universal

being will circulate your Not Me

through the not me

of my own body,

once more?


The Empty Set

I am still only conjecturing that

spending the night with you last night is what

did not happen, out of the set of all potential

events that did not happen between us all

night. But the graph seemed to me to lead to

your bed (which, as you recall, was just two

feet away, with the blankets thrown back).

Yet our evening was a demonstration of Zeno’s

Paradox—we could not cross the distance

to the bed because we forever had first

to cross half the distance.


When I think about that missed intersection,

I think about plotting the slopes of our lives, the route

we each took to meet in that room, and how

any previous meeting would have already

been too late for us to reach that bed;

how we would have needed to have exactly

our same experiences leading to this

precise moment together, but without

ever having passed through those other points

on the graph, that intersected with those other husbands

and wives and children. Those trajectories

are defined by the impossible—they are mapped

in imaginary space only, when we subtract

our families from our lives and take the square

root of our resulting negative selves.


Other people, I think, can compute this, but

it was a math too radical for me.


Suzanne Lane


Suzanne began as a fiction writer many years ago, but for short forms, she has been increasingly drawn to poetry. In addition to writing poetry, she is also writing a mixed-genre memoir, All over the Map, about my experiences growing up as a military dependent, and an academic book about the rhetoric of antebellum slave narratives. Suzanne has taught literature, creative writing, and composition at Harvard, Cal State, San Bernardino, and BU. She currently teaches rhetoric and writing at MIT.

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