This first appeared years ago in the online speculative publication Strange Horizons, and was my very first professional sale. It is particularly appropriate to what I am reading and researching right now for The Quantum League, so it seemed a fitting time to re-post it.
In Their Element
It’s a Saturday night
at the Accelerator Club.
The band is playing a quantum reel,
while atoms trade photons and gravitons
like dance cards.
Particles particular about how they interact
are pulled together,
or forced apart.
Some nights are slow,
weighed down with talk of dark matters,
while others are a frenzy, a frenetic exchange
of flirts and whispers
of who’s coming together and who’s breaking up.
But it is never dull.
There is always the chance
of a spectacle;
the nobility passing through
without so much as a condescending nod,
or some unstable debutante coming apart
under the pressure,
and you should see the chaos on the floor when