The horse snorts and bucks and pulls at the reins
But I am not the horse

I’m not his rider either
jouncing her brain up and down
trying to recite calm words

I am the trees and posts
beside the path, the stones, the earth
beneath the hooves, the sky within
which he moves

Not the magpies and skydivers spooking him
Not rain, rainbow, sun, drenching and drying him
I am sky itself
all the way to space

And when he has had his run
I am the stable,
the frame, the six walls
and half-door view
to which at last
he returns


We proposed in the mid 1990s that consciousness depends on biologically ‘orchestrated’ coherent quantum processes in collections of microtubules within brain neurons. — Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose, “Consciousness in the Universe: A Review of the ‘Orch OR’ Theory.” Physics of Life Reviews 11(1), March 2014, pp. 39–78.

We look for it
in some tiny place
A structure in the brain
A microtubule in a cell
A curled 11-dimensional string

We imagine it
a field, laid out
on spacetime, a matrix
of infinitesimal

We try to find it
by going back in time
or collapsing in,
shrinking towards
a singularity

But infinitesimal and singularity
are concepts from calculus,
limits of infinite journeys
We find ourselves caught
in Zeno’s paradox

trying to touch the hub
between the spokes, the doorway
between the jambs, the pause

between the breaths, the ma
between the fragment
and the phrase

From A coat of ashes.
First published in Meniscus 5(1), June 2017.