Rasma Haidri grew up in Tennessee and lives in the Norwegian arctic. Her writing is widely anthologized and has appeared in literary journals including Nimrod, Prairie Schooner, Sycamore Review, and Fourth Genre. Her awards include the Southern Women Writers Association emerging writer award in creative non-fiction, a Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Letters & Science poetry award, a Best of the Net nomination, the Riddled with Arrows Ars Poetica Prize and her latest collection Blue Like Apples placed second in Brick House Books’ Wicked Woman Prize. Her poetry collection As If Anything Can Happen was published by Kelsay Books in 2017.


Sometime in July, I buy a carton
of coffee cream destined to expire
on a date you will no longer live here.
It fits my hand like a grenade
suddenly missing its pin.

The Theory of Everything

I hear that quarks, building blocks of neutrons (I imagine them modeled in your socks’ bright colors) behave in proximity as free particles, tangoing in asymptotic freedom, yet as they
separate, the force of their bond strengthens—the farther away the tighter the bond—and unlike gravity, which weakens to infinity by an inverse square law (the reason stars shine so dimly), the Law of Quantum Chromodynamics explains by mathematics that a quark in Bodø binds unalterably to a quark in Kristiansand, between them not a nano-dot of love lost.


When you hand me a handle-less teacup
with blue porcelain flowers,

I think of my mother
saying science believed
nature made no blue flowers,

so if I found one, I’d be famous.
I looked for years, certain
I’d seen one, wondering
if science had heard of bluebells.

In the end, I thought blue
must be like apples—
who could say if apple in my mouth,
tasted apple to others?

You dip a wrought-iron spoon
into the cup—
Red currants…want some?

I expect sweet,
but get Wisconsin summer breeze through
my Norwegian grandma’s clapboard house,
white-petal-clouds in a robin-egg-sky,
a hedge higher than my head

where fat currants sit red-jeweling
among leprechaun leaves,
my tongue pressing the berries—
juice zapping electric
red, the only flavor
tasting only of itself.

I was a girl then,
couldn’t see over the hedge,
or dream I’d ever
taste such juice again.