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M-Theory, or, A Piece for Eleven Strings

Where M stands for magic, mystery, or
membrane, according to taste

                                      Edward Witten


Even the body, so impossibly tuned and tensioned:

all of us crimped, folded and thrumming just so, they say,

like a trillion trillion guitars or glass harmonicas, tiny

symphonies of sound—so why not metaphysics? and maybe

it was a lonely voice that started it all, a single word

that set everything to spinning out in ripples, these circles

we know so well: as all water ends up in the sea, for a time,

as the planets will spiral into their star, be turned to light

(so what is death but a change of state?)—and light, set free

in time, no instrument, no body, pushes back the void, still

humming whatever this song is we all run on, and run to


T. J. McLemore

Michigan Quarterly Review

Spring 2017


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