photo by the author

~for Stephen Hawking

What if every life is just an unwinding,
an unraveling thread of spirals,
branching out by years and days and choices
in wider and wider arcs until too large
to be sustained, each person their own
universe, an expanding golden ratio
of Fibonacci arms reaching for other arms
of other universes like brain cells
illuminating electrical clouds of REM sleep.

First born, the spiral is tight and small,
an infant fist closing around a mother’s finger,
but as the child grows the universe unfurls
and something gets lost, old connections fade,
the stars at the center begin their inevitable collapse,
family and friendships become occasional phone calls,
intermittent trips home for funerals or birthdays
or weddings to strangers,
and so the cluster of brightness at everyone’s core
begins to dim, and this we call dying.

If only there was a way to share the light
without sacrifice, to keep every star burning
like a perpetual fission furnace of love,
to hold hot coals in palms without being burned,
to tell every person every day that they are oxygen
and each breath is a flame, each heart essential
to the beat of the next to be named,
perhaps this cycle of expansion unto retraction
could balance itself out, find an equilibrium
where instead of competing for space to grow,
we allow the other to overlap our own
and these entangled galaxies
to become one,
just one set of breathing lungs.



Provocative truth teller, author of 19 poetry collections. Cat dad. Dog dad. Currently working from Portland, Oregon. Learn more at:

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