Apprehension II (or is it III or perhaps even IV) by Richard Helmling

It strikes
a flash
like the web of memories alight
tendrils of electro-chemical unbeing
snaking branching river-forks
deep into the gray

           (like something from sci-fi
                                   Robinson’s memory treatment on Mars
           or some discount package from Philip K. Dick
                                   but transitory
                                   gone in a moment,
           less than a moment
                                   a pico-second’s worth of transcendence)

More than memory, though

                       what’s the word?
                                   what’s the word?


           (latching on to some Emersonian ur-soul,
                       some all-seeing eye
           as it glimpses an expanse beyond expanses
                       mountains filled with vibrating silicate atoms
                       dancing to tunes
                                   spun out of dark matter
           star stuff
                                   periodic tables in eleven dimensions
                       all the things we can and can’t imagine
           phantoms our math can’t even capture
                                                                       not quite)

And on the other side,
I am left again
just me
just this slipshod table of memories
smudged ink on ledgers washed ashore
from God knows where

and I
I am not the record
nor the player
not even the needle


Just the friction
in the groove

Richard Helmling is a teacher and writer living and working in El Paso, Texas. HIs work has been featured in Corner Club Press, Black Heart Magazine, Arsenic Lobster, the Rio Grande Review, The Drabble, and Fiction Brigade. Visit him at