Jasmine V. Bailey

Theory of Relativity

Waking, you discover

our life lasted a few minutes;

only women in paintings live slower.


The truth of backs is

the towel will never dry them. The tsunami

gathers but does not land.


Even destruction

is beyond the gods who statue lush Tahiti.

Did you once think nights


only ended if you fell asleep?

If plums imagined

the basket that contains them,


then Sunday, then summer.

I walk correcting the meadow’s tangles

and my fingers lose their order.


It is not in our power

to reverse the oversweetened coffee,

to become mistaken.




“Theory of Relativity” first appeared in Nine Mile Magazine and is from Disappeared (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2017