Rum & Raspberries

by Wesley Rothman

The center of our galaxy tastes like raspberries
& smells of rum. Yet we don’t know
what the center sounds. Probably nothing,
the most perfect vacuum cancels pitch & tenor
but I can’t help hearing the dits & pings waving
through uninterrupted space, sonaring projectiles,
junk, gamma rays & radio waves wiggling
into what we consider infinity. The roar & thrum
solar flares shrug, strumming the long, thick string
of the galaxy. I can’t help but hear transmissions
from the early days of radio & wire, hear the plump
tartness of raspberries, their cocoon of subwoofers
a spiral of seeds suspended in ruby belief.
The center of our galaxy clinks, the melting ice
in my Sailor Jerry & Coke—a smooth cocktail
by any standard. Ice is the ticket: sound
swimming around & round & bouncing
from solid-dissolving walls, the bright white sound
of vanilla or brown star caramel, the galaxy swirl.
Or the trick is to finish the drink quickly enough
without tilting the axis of this monstrous rotation,
this chaos of love & fire & language & dark.
With the clink in my hand, I smell the center of all
I try to comprehend but will always fall shy of.
My drink thumps down my throat, the locus
of vibration & sound, where I find a chamber
in which I’m intimate with my ignorance.
There’s no simplicity at the center of our galaxy.
Only raspberries, rum, fire, & theories
conducting how we pass & crash one another.

Published on October 7, 2015