The Fourth State of Matter

In the story I just read
there were scientists,
using big words. Unexplainable.

Glacial. Sycophant. These weeks
other people’s art
has become my own; a friend’s

photograph of a rain-dropped
daisy or a bruised lover
after a long night. The laundromat.

A shopping cart. Lately
everything is beautiful and I relish
the proof, containable.

On my bed the cats are napping.
It is warm there, reasonable,
a place to wait for things

that do not change. I will always
come home, not every night,
but consistently. Patient, they purr,

cradled in dreams and soft
whistling sighs. Plasma,
I read, is the fourth state of matter,

the cell-suspending portion of blood
and the rings around planets
in which dust collects.

Somewhere beyond solid and gas
it exists, and mingles,
in stars and veins and a story

that took years to write.
One cat yawns, unconcerned with science
or any such transcendent substance.

I put my ear to his furry,
rumbling abdomen. It’s like
everything. Like nothing else.

April 2005