Phase Change by Scott Edward Anderson

Phase Change

(n. a change from one state—solid, liquid or gas—to another without a change in chemical composition)

Was it my heat or yours that took me
through phase changes to who I am today?
In my fluid state, I could never be contained.
Flowing, yet never satisfied,
reaching for something that mattered,
wanting to be a solid, authentic person
worthy of heat and attention.
I’d reached the freezing point
by then—cold, I was cold and callous
to a point where no one could hold me.

I became frozen in all ways that matter,
constantly breaking my mold
and splintering off in all directions,
not unlike shards of ice that shatter
rather than completely changing states.
Latent heat of fusion or vaporization—
latent fear of transformation,
fear of the unknown, a state of uncertainty.

And then, attracted by your constant heat,
a kind of sublimation occurred,
both physical and psychological.
I skipped phases like stones
on a surface of ice rather than water.
Who I was before that day evaporated away
and became the man I needed to be—
the man you needed me to become.
I moved from one state to another,
and all was deposition over desolation.

*

Scott Edward Anderson is an award-winning poet, memoirist, essayist, and translator, and the author of Wine-Dark Sea: New & Selected Poems & Translations (forthcoming from Shanti Arts, 2021); Azorean Suite/Suite Açoriana (Letras Lavadas, 2020); Falling Up: A Memoir of Second Chances (Homebound Publications, 2019), which received the 1st Literary Prize from Letras Lavadas in conjunction with PEN Azores in 2020; Dwelling: an ecopoem (Shanti Arts, 2018), winner of the Nautilus Prize; and Fallow Field: Poems (Aldrich Press, 2013). His poetry also received the Nebraska Review Award. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.