from flavorful quarks to spinning atoms
from biological cells to vibrant ecosystems
we construct formulas for almost
every imaginable thing
but if love can be quantified, in the same way that a physicist
calculates the critical density the universe tiptoes on
I’d meticulously count all our interactions
measure our hugs and our sleepovers
just so that we don’t get it wrong.
if love can be quantified in the same way a chemist titrates an acid
then maybe we can find the drop
that precisely turns the bromothymol blue indicator yellow
freeze it right after words become song and before dreams of distant futures
burn down to broken bones

but if this is a titration neither of us know the endpoint
we are no chemist–we just stand there and watch the acid trickle
in a single continuous stream, on those lazy Sunday mornings
when we sleep till noon and we’re both too comfortable to move
or when we watch late night movies and the warmth of your hand
seep into my skin, when you laugh and we talk and I pray to a non-existent deity, hoping
that many years later when memories turn to gold
we can still say the same thing

I would like to think
that life is not a chemical formula
but we are only an amalgamation of quarks and electrons formed from nuclear fusion
in the core of stars long burnt out and in suns too far for us to see
love is but a chain reaction sparked by millions of neuron collisions
we are mere emergent phenomena–slave to our hormones, our mind, our senses, our body
but you see, I just hope that
in what few degrees of freedom we have we learn to love in the right proportions
and hopefully we find the correct mix of concentrations that sees us through
after all
everyone gets a different isotope of the same poison
but I may have used up all my luck
to meet you