Nicholas YB Wong


I donít know why F = ma, why a human body
and a feather will free fall from this roof
at the same velocity. Do physicists know
the human body, besides the bones and organs,
also carry pounds of grief and memory, and
thus should drop with a more merciless
momentum upon plight? I donít know why
this Newtonís law has troubled me since grade 9,
why my teacherís face goes blank when I put
forward my theory. Too imaginative, maybe. Or
alternative? Physics has always been my weakest
subject. Itís all about practicality and the prescribed
laws of attraction. Exactly because these laws are pre-
scribed, they canít explain us, who exist in the moment.
I used to think we make a perfect symbiotic pair, like
a clown fish and the toxic sea anemone. My biology
is better and, as you say, this analogy is very precise. But
too precise. Just now, I return home with my tired fins.
When my lips kiss your limbs, you withdraw, as if
hiding something deep down. I venture forward and
see two more of my kind, with shiny scales and stripes
more orange and blacker, already asleep in your arms.
Then you, with your potent poison, sting me and announce
you are no longer my habitat. Now, I know what being
a clown means and feels like. And you will also know why
my feet now march towards the edge between this cemented
roof and air. I wish to test if F really equals ma. What
an honorable experiment. Even if my calculation
is not fast enough, at least, I will dance like a feather,
simmering in the noon warmth and numerous apathetic
upward gazes.

Nicholas YB Wong is the winner of Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (Oct 2010) and a nominee for Best of the Net 2010 and Best of Web 2011 Anthologies. His poetry is forthcoming in Assaracus: Journal of Gay Poetry, Prime Number Magazine, San Pedro River Review, Pireneís Fountain, Third Wednesday, Lambda Literary Foundation, Mascara Literary Review and the Sentinel Champion Series. He is currently a poetry editor for THIS Literary Magazine. Visit him at

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