Poincaré’s Three-Body Problem and Mine

for my parents

We did not dream them.

They invented us,

their own brave friction

and stoking breath fanning our ignition.

And they bathed us —

small as fists we fit into their palms

balanced against bent arms,

a rocking orbit.

They look like us,

call forth our voices

and we name them:

Da,  Ma.

And once named

they change, pulled

from that former course,

an angular trajectory.

It is the expansive contraction,

the heaviest thing,

the very beginning.

And its inevitable collapse.


The work of Henri Poincaré, a 19th-century French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher, was crucial in attempting to solve the “three-body problem” which explored how a celestial body introduced into the gravitational fields of two previously stable orbiting bodies will change the orbit and trajectory of all three.

Award-winning poet and teaching artist Kelly Cass Falzone is a longtime member and the new Executive Director of Art & Soul, a community studio in Nashville’s 12South neighborhood that invites authentic living through artistic practice. Falzone’s most recent experiments fuse book arts, collage, printmaking, play, and poetry. Find more at www.ArtandSoulNashville.com



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