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Photo credit: Roman Mager. Source: Unsplash.


origin of F

F/A = Stress


In this poem & in your life,

the letter F is everything—

F for the force that brews inside a clenched fist


lowercase f for frequency:

the number of times that fist remodels your jaw


Today my head is buried

between the algebraic union in the dog-eared pages

of New School Physics


Young Modulus claims that

Stress is F/A—where A is area:

the household that Force lords over, the household

where people read their vows backwards.

Stress has a name, a unit



e/l = Strain

where l is the length you are willing

to be extended—

before you y i e l d & b/r/e/a/k


In this experiment of a poem, you are

only an apparatus


In this poem, Strain is your name

In the Physics textbook, Strain has no unit


a doctor takes one look at the x-ray film

& asks why your bones

hold so many stories—

your lips stretch into a thin smile



a back-story


Before Young Modulus

Hooke stated that all things return to their original


as long as elastic limit is not exceeded

In this poem, life is elastic


the first time

your eyes go pregnant with blood,

the first time

you taste the salt from your broken lips,

the first time your face bears fingerprints,


you are a cub that still knows the way home

so you flee, but you are returned to the original


Mommy says you must learn to expand & accommodate

this Force



Unit of Force is Newton,

pronounced as new-thing


but Mommy says this force is no new thing

she shows you where she buried her own

stories on her body. War memorabilia.

she wears them proudly


In this poem, marriage is war.

In this poem, everybody is a physicist


Even the Police know some Physics

they tell you that friction must exist between two

bodies in contact

then they provide solution:

“okro soup is good lubricant, work on your

culinary skills”



elastic bodies become plastic when they are stretched

beyond limit, the day the force stretches

life out of your neck


we learn that plasticity is rigor mortis

we hear the Force argue that it was under

the influence of other forces

1. alcohol

2. devil

we resolve forces

2F – F

surely two forces are greater than one



K = F/e

where k is Force Constant


In this poem, everything begins & ends

with force




Abdulbaseet Yusuff is a Nigerian writer who writes short stories and experiments with poems. Some of his works have been published on Praxis Magazine Online, Tuck Magazine, Kalahari Review, Echelon Review, Prachya Review, Eboquills and elsewhere. When he is bored, he watches video clips of Leo Messi and Donnie Yen.

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One Response to “Physics Textbook Explains Why People Can’t Leave Abusive Marriages | Abdulbaseet Yusuff | Poetry” Subscribe

  1. Onyekwelu Chiwenite Kingsley March 11, 2020 at 1:56 am #

    This is so beautiful. The theme is quite rare. Here’s a poem I’ll always come back to read.

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