The Helium Thoughts
Stars rotate steadily on their axes
because each always thinks the same thoughts
about the same things.
Plato, Timaeus (40A)
Our starry brains — their frail shells stuffed
with as many neurons as the galaxy has suns.
On this sunlit afternoon, I clutch
my temples to keep the giant number in.
More synaptic links than there are seconds
in thirty million years. The combinatorics
make me spin. We could think anything.
And yet the helium thoughts of youth consume us.
The paths of thought are bound in myelin,
spiral arms that wrap us tightly in the past — our own.
The tracks of evolution. Thought’s locks spin
in pre-set combinations and conclusions.
It’s hard to get past helium
when we are still so young.