Henrietta Goodman


Psychology takes the fun

out of everything, and infinity

can only be fathomed

as infinite boredom

or infinite loss.

Physics, which we used to trust,

fails us altogether when the number 8

turned on its side

turns out to be merely sleeping—

rises up like a cow in a field,

a cow with surprising vigor.


His hand tangles in my hair

as the train passes,

and in that blur of sound and light

things are settled by a force

outside ourselves,

as we had hoped would happen.

In the afternoon,

the green plums hang invisible

on the green tree. At night they glow

with a powdery green light of their own—

sour enough to last a while,

sour enough, surely.



“Physics” is from Take What You Want, (Alice James Books, 2007).