Cosmological Sonnets


An impact of two black holes is said to produce more energy
than all of the suns in the universe. And we may observe
this is true whenever void meets void. Two people not speaking:
unbearable volatility. A failure to act, and the blot it leaves,
grinding together like cogs of a perpetual remorse machine.
A sudden loss, and the moment of uncomfortable stillness
in a crowd’s reaction: we have all felt that frisson in the air,
perhaps held back inappropriate laughter. A grown child’s
vacated room: void upon void. An empty stomach, an existence
barren of hope: fuel enough, my comrades, for a revolution.
Void upon void, a blank canvas met with enough clarity of mind
to illuminate it. Or, existential loneliness thrown against just
the right sort of relief: a windswept moor, an empty street.
Enough of nothing to supply a symphony, or at very least, a sonnet.


Whether Earth as we know it survived Theia, or with its sister planet
impacted to form a gnostic whole (kicking up rubble for the moon),
seems to me a moot point. We are all so constituted. Do not trust
the person who recounts his or her past with an uncomplicated “I.”
If a too-close identification remains between that narrator and
a school self, or a childhood nickname, run. It could be no more than
sentimental clinging. But there’s a simplicity of the dangerous sort,
the kind that thinks it’s moving while the lava stands still. Perhaps
it was the proto-Earth that was smashed to bits, and this is Theia?
Would it make any difference if we’ve got that backstory wrong?
What any of us are now, or were then, is mostly episodic memory.
Who hasn’t been crashed into at least once in this life, felt a world
obliterated, blown to bits? The point is not to tell the best story.
The point is to get up from the rubble and pull together a new moon.



In due time we shall find ourselves drifting toward the brim
of a great horizon, where everything shifts to red. Images
of those who’ve preceded us cluster along the same radius:
neighbors, acquaintances, elderly uncles and aunts. No one
can break away from this place where time stretches and
milliseconds become centuries. I recognize distant ancestors
at only an arm’s length: Italian matrons, Irish maids, voyageurs,
a lusty Viking or two. Then a long line of Middle Easterners
and dignified forebears from the East African Rift. Beyond,
other shades appear, too many to be counted: cuneiforms
constellated around a black center. Waiting requires time,
so none of us is waiting. To perish is a paradox. So like Zeno,
we must remain poised upon on this threshold interminably,
anticipating radiance, drawn toward a singularity we’ll never see.