The Corollary of Dr. Ian Malcolm


Wasn’t there a butterfly

effect set off by his experiment

                                                           with water droplets?

I have never been quite the same.

I sit in the backseat

next to my male companion

and for every apparent reason:

history, strange attractors, sensitivity to

initial conditions, lack the slightest

twinge when he smolders close,

unbuckling my


                               Did I unbuckle my seatbelt?

Even when

                               the velociraptors circle the car,

pecking away at the laminated

safety glass, my heart rates at

a tepid speed. I don’t acknowledge

the consequence of being

eaten alive.

                          Am I too wrapped up in the what-if erotica (!)

                                                                          of topological mixing?

I am at this moment rewriting

                              a theorem of predictability.

It concerns the deterministic

systems of future-me and

the nature of my subsequent companion.

               In all scenarios, I am a paleobotanist

played by Laura Dern,

my companion? a rotating version of

Jeff Goldbum, circa ‘93.

                            The truth is my rounding errors yield

wildly diverging outcomes, but now, 

as always, the present circumstances

determine the future.

My question has become

                               do present circumstances favor me?

All the speculation!

of chaos theory cannot definitively predict

the closeness of the hot doctor’s

                                                        periodic orbit.

Stay with me, the velociraptors are,

but how-to? manifest my

                                                        long-dark, desired

outcome: a particular cheek, hot doctor with jet-

black hair, in a jet-black leather jacket. 


Madeline Vardell is an MFA candidate at New Mexico State University. She is the winner of the 2013 Kay Murphy Prize in Poetry, selected by Lara Glenum. Her work has recently appeared in Bayou Magazine, Rhino, [PANK], and Whiskey Island. She lives in Mesilla, New Mexico.