Metaphysics (prompt 19)

Physicists believe that the universe is shaped

like the inside of a soccer ball, with holograms

projecting all possible angles of view like Indra’s net;

that black holes extrude through the walls of space-time

like scattered spikes that can suck us out

of this world and into another (could we but survive).


They trumpet dark matter and dark energy,

Places so black that nothing appears to exist.

Neutrinos that no one can see, pour through the gaps

In the particles of our bodies each second,

Without witness, outside the range of sight, unfelt.


Gloriously, we evolved for this world and time,

small bags of water, composed of nothing

But billions of competing colonies of bacteria

animated by a life vibration no one comprehends.

We are stardust. We are eternity experiencing itself

as separation from oneness. We are a hive of cells,

bacteria and systems that let us function

as a singular entity. We have senses to

experience life—our raison d’etre. So darkness fades.


Quivering waves fill our ears with sounds

made in the ancient past, taking light years to arrive.

The sounds of star births and atoms colliding,

of movement and the pulsing of galaxies.

Even hymns of praise and campfire songs

once sung reverberate indefinitely in space.

We are moved to dance and sing in reply like

human Chladni plates.


Our eyes perceive the waves of light bouncing

off imagined forms, and give it names like red and sky blue.

The brilliant nuance of color startles and pleases our eyes.

The tastes of bitter and sweet, sour and salt, define

the objects we start mouthing as infants.

The smells of sweet lilacs and hyacinth, of urine and death,

fill us with emotion and memories of our experiences.


We were made for this world and this time,

We inconsequential life forms of perhaps random origin.

This small, blue planet whose beauty we uncovered

as we floated through space, reveals itself because we experience

explosions of sound and elaborate eruptions of color.

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