Theories of Unity
by G. L. Grey

At the dinner party last night
so-and-so and so-and-so
were talking about, I don’t know,
quantum mechanics, spinning
atom halves, the synchronicity
of mammals and kelp and ions

and eventually the conversation
turned to those fireflies
that fling and flicker their small flames
in unison, blink, blink----- blink, how even
pheromones can’t explain this
harmony of light.

And I said, Oh, yeah,
I’ve seen those fireflies in Malaysia,
and then it was too late, it had been said,
and in that said-ness I became
the person who says, Oh, yeah,
I’ve seen those fireflies in Malaysia,

which was hard for me,
since I have always hated
those people with their oh-yeahs,
their you-haven’t-tried bananas-
until-you’ve-tried bananas
-in-Thailand bullshit.

And now, what?
I could try to explain
I’m not her,
even though, okay,
yes, I have seen those fireflies.
While in Malaysia.  In July.
And it was beautiful blink blink blink,
but even so
not her.

Useless, my frantic strategies for
setting the record straight—
the talk had turned to the strange
agreements of bats, how
they fly out from under bridges
together in black ribbons,
how even instinct can’t explain
this spreading, dark sea.

We poured more wine,
left it there on the table.
And then all of us quiet
for—twenty seconds?—the guests
balancing on the back legs of their chairs,
putting the whole thing together,
the mystery of synchronicity,

the miracle of assholes recounting
their amazing adventures in Laos,
Nepal, Papua New Guinea,

in perfect unison,
in the perfect now,
at dinner parties all across America.

by G. L. Grey

It ended in the parking lot.
She straightened, and shoved the bags
into his broken arms.
He wore running shoes and bent towards the road.

There was no need to sprint.
All 140 billion galaxies in the visible universe
move out and away, abandoning each other
and us and any hope for reconciliation.

He walked to the car
and she didn’t
and like all those lost objects spread in space,
the farther they got, the faster they moved.


G. L. Grey got her MFA at Eastern Washington University and has been
published in various journals, most recently in
The Cream City Review
and Copper Nickel.  Currently Grey teaches at Gonzaga University.     

On “The Divorce”:
I wrote “The Divorce” after watching a recently separated couple
walk away from each other in a parking lot.  I was reading Bill
A Short History of Nearly Everything at the time, and
couldn’t help but notice the way our little movements and little
hearts seem to mirror that bigger cosmic life Bryson describes.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 5, Number 1
(Spring 2010)

Copyright © 2010
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.
The Divorce