The Sum of One’s Parts


Is it easier? To imagine one’s object of desire
As simply the sum of its parts, atomized
Cores of nuclei within clouds of electrons;
Or the concept of love, as serotonin and oxytocin,
Chemicals, cold and absolute.
Why is it that dissection can reduce something as
Beautiful as you are to something elementary,
Something not worthy of loving?
Perhaps we are afraid, not of each other, but of our
Capacity to feel;
Our emotions so intense that we overflow,
Their weight leaking through our eyes, our mouths.
We are scared of ourselves,
So we scrutinize, and we probe, and we beat to death
Those we love; turn them into butterflies,
Preserved carefully and pinned down on a corkboard,
As beautiful as they were the day they
Crawled out of their cocoons,
But dead and stinking of formaldehyde.

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