Love Letters Written in Textbooks by Mercedes Santiago

Adam and Eve by Natalie Voelker

Love Letters Written in Textbooks

My mother believed that come 2012, we would
           transcend our physical forms and exist in the ether,
                as the great consciousness.
My father believes that there are cosmic records
           of all that we are and could possibly be.  

Some child, raised by kooks, raised in the haze
of high and not quite so mighty, keeps
all the stories she hears stored
away in her library of skepticism.
Labeled: ways to make sense of this world,
which does not make sense.

I want to whisper to you
how four billion years ago one (pre) alphaproteobacterium
           made a mistake and was eaten;
how four billion years ago one (pre) cyanobacterium
                made a mistake and stopped eating;
how somewhere around two decades ago,
                           the great human mess made you
(thankyou thankyou to all the atoms in all the universe).

I believe in omens and patterns,
things that take shape over years.

Galaxies colliding. You and I,
           like two stars who can’t quit. Orbits. The way
                      particles want each other.
Names again, again: falling in love
           with the same person. Always wearing a different face.

My best friend has the face of another girl
who (ten years ago) moved across the country,
who pressed her raw hand against mine and said
this is a promise.

I believe in keeping. Slipping past,
transient. I will likely die with a thousand untold secrets
on my tongue. I will speak puzzles and prophecies
before I break free of this vein,
this track I am passing through again.

Again: ways to make sense of ourselves, and how
we do not make sense.
And how we become our parents,
but with a different jargon. This one is biology.

This is not the first time you and I will meet.
           There are so many times we have met, and
                      we are never the same.

Scientists make strange romantics–the fact of you
keeps me wondering if the facts of us are really so sane.

Mercedes Santiago

Mercedes Santiago is a 22-year-old biology student, writer, and flower enthusiast from Kansas, who spends most of her time pipetting chemicals and plant DNA into test tubes while listening to RadioLab. She digs connecting with others in a funky-intense-brain mesh kind of way and her life is mostly losing things and other small accidents, but she figures life is about stumbling into experiences anyway. She has an unshakeable certainty that things will be fine, and they usually are. Find more of her work at