The Physics of Hope

Illustration by Hope Coulter

Remember lessons in displacement, how water is pushed aside
by the hollow of a boat, the way a heart is held in suspension
by absence. Time spent waiting for a ferry to arrive is the same
as other time, even if it seems to pass more slowly. Its derivative
will show the rate of change of the prow cutting through the chop
of a grey Sunday. For every action, an equal and opposite reaction.
You pushed, he ran, a body in motion. Now there are questions
only observation can decide: whether the boxed cat is alive or dead,
whether the boy shows up to a meeting arranged months before
or steps off the gangway with a fistful of drugstore carnations
clutched in hand. Consider the factors at play –– friction, momentum,
tension, gravity, trajectory, entanglement. It’s hard to calculate
the physics of hope against hope. If energy is not created or destroyed,
perhaps love too could be enduring. The equation will soon solve itself
and the future resolve into the facts that eventually make up life.


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