{All I Wanted Was Everything}

Rosebud Ben-Oni

You say you know the reason why Archimedes diedtracing circles in the sand & howyou’ll go out this way,a man too in lovewith unifyingtheorem& consequence.You say you’d stake your lifein trying to understandwhy gravity, like me, crushes& slipsthrough your hands,when I’m one hundred percentcertain that we are twopoints never to meet,if you keeptrying to connect the small & large of you& me. I could tell you why Archimedes deniedthe invading handof a Roman solider reaching out to him,that one last chanceto surrender& walk behinda new empire, as freeprisoner. I could say why a frailthing, like gravity, must be capableof such cruelty.I’m putting it out there,for you,the human body,as a transitory stagefor what you & I will never see.Just billions & billions of caterpillarsor maggotsor grubs,thinking we are life’s final & finitedestiny—thinking it’s enough that we givelive birth & buryour dead.          & I could sayone of our greatest was only digginghis own gravebecause life taught himnothing in the end. But my dearfriend, the science of survival is not a scienceof discovery. & when we die, we go inmystery.

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Rosebud Ben-Oni is the winner of 2019 Alice James Award for If This Is the Age We End Discovery (2021), which received a Starred Review in Booklist, and the author of turn around, BRXGHT XYXS (Get Fresh Books, 2019). Her chapbook 20 Atomic Sonnets, which appears in Black Warrior Review (2020), is part of a larger future project called The Atomic Sonnets, which she began in 2019, in honor of the Periodic Table’s 150th Birthday. She is a recipient of the 2014 NYFA Fellowship in Poetry and a 2013 CantoMundo Fellowship. Her work appears in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, Poetry Society of America (PSA), The Poetry Review (UK), Tin House, Guernica, Black Warrior Review, TriQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, Electric Literature, Hayden’s Ferry Review, among others. In 2017, her poem “Poet Wrestling with Angels in the Dark” was commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in NYC, and published by The Kenyon Review Online. Recently, her poem “Dancing with Kiko on the Moon” was featured in Tracy K. Smith’s The Slowdown. She writes for The Kenyon Review blog.

"Ben-Oni draws on the odd properties of supersymmetry to create a dexterous collection of electric lyrics that defies conventions of science and syllabics alike. … An astonishing work for adventurous readers intrigued by science and literature."
—Diego Báez, Booklist starred review

"…the scientific language in these poems bubbles, zaps, overflows, and spins off into new dimensions. The poems immerse us into the same matter that comprises atoms, at once strong, unpredictable, and mysterious forces. As readers, we see the inner workings of what could be possible through physics as we know it — or what might happen if we were to nullify all that we know and give into the forces that underpin our physical existence."
—Scarlett Eliza Wardrop, Entropy 

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