Nuclear fusion is a type of reaction
in which two lighter atoms combine
to release energy. This, however, rarely happens
when I play billiards. Each florid particle
of phenolic resin banking off the turf.
Let’s get this straight: a bet is
a bet only after our hands become one
limb. There’s something about honesty lost
when my fingers straddle the cue
like a hunting rifle. I’m still not used
to handshakes. How all intimacy begins
at the wrist. How the balm of
our touch mingles like a proton
balancing an electron. These are
called elementary particles, schools
of thought watered down to
a ricochet. There’s a lot of us
in bars like this, hunkered into a circlet,
bouncing off each other’s shoulders,
around the ceramic of our frailty.
I can always drink to breaking
down what haunts us most.
The heat mists up my glasses on winter
nights like this, but I can still see where
I’m aiming. I’m calling it. 8-ball,
left corner. I’m calling it. We’re stuck
in here, you, me, the green nuclei
of a lawn between
us. You always think I’m here
to win. You never think I’m here to be stuck,
but then again, I still owe you
$5 for last week, so what does that
say about combining your winnings,
my losses, all of me, drained like a battery,
with a trick shot? I’m calling it. We’ll be
here forever, and even if by accident
I sink your stripes,
it doesn’t mean I missed.
Liam Strong is a Pushcart Prize nominated queer writer and studies Writing at University of Wisconsin-Superior. They are the former editor of NMC Magazine. You can find their works in Impossible Archetype, Dunes Review, Monday Night, Lunch Ticket, Chiron Review, The Maynard, Panoply, Prairie Margins, and The 3288 Review.
Photography by: Nazareno Contreras