collapse

by Abner Dormiendo

“In quantum mechanics, wave function collapse
(also called collapse of the state vector or
reduction of the wave packet) is the phenomenon
in which a wave function—initially in a superposition
of several different possible eigenstates—
appears to reduce to a single one of those states
after interaction with an observer.”

Here is a catalog of things that could happen
as you sit across me, observed:

you will grab the previous stranger’s coffee
sitting on our tabletop since only God knows when
and throw it to the bin while I count red cars
that will drive past the pedestrian lane
as if it was a finish line for something;

you will fold the piece of tissue and wipe
the chocolate stain on the edges of your lips
and by then I have left the shop to go to the seaside
and listen to ocean waves;

you will tap the keys of your phone, searching
for a friend who should have been here with you
ten minutes ago while I slice
the piece of grilled cheese sandwich on my plate;

you will strike a conversation with me: silver wares
against porcelain plates while I talk back, knocking
soles on wooden floors and fingers on mahogany table tops;

you will gaze at the seventieth page of the novel
you are currently reading, because you are baffled
by what the word epiphenomenon means and at that time
I will lean across the table and tell you:
another occurrence alongside a primary event.

In one swift phenomenon
all the possibilities
collapse

into the collision of lips —
yours against mine.

And all the parallel universes die,
as if they never mattered to me
thirty seconds ago.

***

(Wave function collapse definition taken from Wikipedia.)

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