Inelastic Scattering – poem by Robert Kibble

Inelastic Scattering

If a particle collides and loses energy, that’s inelastic
scattering; where one is slowed down, caught, despite its frantic
efforts to keep going, until it becomes automatic
for it to continue, trying to put behind it the traumatic
events it’s been through, trying to forget the attic
where the particle of my life went through the dramatic
change caused by my boyfriend, the charismatic
star of the class, the straight-A guy, the mathematic
genius. So, when I said what he’d done, they said “over-dramatic”
when they didn’t say lie, or my trembling was “psychosomatic”,
and even my friends said I’d bounce back, like the elastic
particles we’d read of, but for me more problematic
was recovering. They told me to be diplomatic,
not make a fuss, not ruin a life with fantastic
promise. So, I was left with lost energy, my scattering inelastic,
my changes seem permanent, and so drastic.
My mood gone from bubbly, to withdrawn and sarcastic.
My nights spent at home, or increasingly frantic
desires to be so, and unlike the elastic
I’m told I should be. I’m more like the plastic
that bent once remains so, broken and tragic.
I go on, switched now to full automatic.
Just buck up, they say, an insulting tactic
for me: a broken and now inelastic
and scattered body. Because of that attic.

‘Inelastic Scattering’ by Robert Kibble was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2018) judged by Derek Adams.