“While Carpooling with my Romantic Interest, I Think about Erwin Schrödinger’s Imaginary Cat” by Shane Wilson

It’s easier now to travel–construction complete, orange
barrels and flashing lights now someplace new
where men in reflecting tape and yellow vests will
wonder about the need for hardhats, wonder what
may fall unexpectedly from sky and onto heads like
God tossing rocks.

I know we will talk–passing signs for strip clubs,
racetracks, cheap hotels, and Dairy Queens—
about music and driving and loss—road trip discourse—
and you’ll start to pretend to mock me–eyes cutting,
mouth open in surprise–as I tell you I’ve been reading
quantum philosophy and I think I understand it–
Schrödinger’s cat pawing at the lid of his box as he
lives and dies, simultaneously alive and dead–a zombie.

In the passing wind, I tell you about the night I
tried to fix myself with purchased contact—thick-rimmed
glasses and dark hair closed frosted glass behind us both
for two songs and earned my pocket’s final few
dollars for tuition or rent or booze or food.

I worry, as people do, that these moments of candid
self-history may require me to adorn my own
reflecting tape and hardhat, but your eyes cut sideways,
your lips part in a smile, and Schrödinger’s cat purrs,
at least for now, from inside his box.

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