Inelastic Scattering – a poem by Robert Kibble

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 very 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My mood gone from bubbly, to withdrawn and sarcastic.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


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