What to expect from the Hadron Collider as a college roommate

It will probably not be home for supper anytime soon.
Things will get broken and not put back together again.
When you speak to it about paying its fair share of the rent,

it will start at you with that far-away look, or as though it is

squinting at things too small for you to see. Let it,
but go through its pockets on rent day. It will probably
have a million dollars you didn’t notice before.

Do not answer when it asks you for a Higgs Boson,

or where your girlfriend went, as it is hooked
on speed. If it doesn’t get all of its jeans out of the dryer,
it won’t notice if you mail them to the lab posthaste.

The Hadron Collider is always working late.

No, professors will not hold you accountable.
It will always be wearing the T-shirt that says:
See or be seen. You will punch it in the arm

for joy when it finally remembers your name.


Betsy Aoki

Betsy Aoki is a poet, short story writer and game producer. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Uncanny Magazine, Asimov’s Magazine of Science Fiction, 580 Split, The Margins (Asian American Writers’ Workshop), and anthologized in Climbing Lightly Through Forests (a Ursula K. Le Guin tribute poetry anthology). In 2021 she won the Auburn Witness Poetry Prize Honoring Jake Adam York, selected by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jericho Brown.
Her debut poetry collection, Breakpoint, is a 2019 National Poetry Series Finalist, and was published in 2022 after winning the Patricia Bibby First Book Award. You can find out more at

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