Deborah L. Davitt
A Touch of Lightning in the Soul
White lightning hum of alternating current
crackling, searing, sequestered safely
cutting the air beneath insulating coils
(smell the ozone) (taste the metal, lick a penny)
huddled in my Faraday cage
(hear the rain) (feel it thrum)
sizzling along nerves under my fingers, nerves conducting
flowing through my neurons the same energies
electrons in fragile, fractal symmetries
Deborah L. Davitt was raised in Nevada, but currently lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and son. Her poetry has received Rhysling, Dwarf Star, and Pushcart nominations; her short fiction has appeared in Galaxy’s Edge, Intergalactic Medicine Show, and Pseudopod. For more about her work, including her Edda-Earth novels and her poetry collection, The Gates of Never, please see www.edda-earth.com.
Author’s Note: Can be read
1) White Lightning, crackling, searing, cutting the air (smell the ozone), huddled in my Faraday cage
2) hum of alternating current, sequestered safely beneath insulating coils (taste the metal, lick a penny), huddled in . . .
3) electrons flowing through my neurons sizzling along nerves (hear the rain) huddled in. . .
4) in fragile, fractal symmetries, the same energies, under my fingers, nerves conducting (feel it thrum), huddled in. . .
and yet, each of the 4 can be read backwards, starting from: Huddled in my Faraday cage, (smell the ozone cutting the air) crackling, searing, white lightning . . .and so on down the line.
It IS possible to read it right to left (White lightning, hum of alternating current) but the intended course of reading is along each “bolt.”
Editor’s Note: Intended to be read along each of the four “lightning” branches, up or down, I discovered that it could also be read as a subverted contrapuntal poem. The image from Matt Lee (Flickr) at Drexel University was chosen to bridge the lightning strike and the electrified soul by letting a neural net be the symbolic transition.