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The Bang

"you will still spend your breath to complete your poem"

Published onNov 27, 2022
The Bang

Photo by Chang Duong:

Living is no joke. 
To live, I mean really live, is to be brave, which is not to say
fearless — what I really mean is that
you must live with great conviction to know that you are alive,
and really feel that you are alive, each moment, without looking back.
I mean like a flushed goldfish swirling through the
unknown darkness of copper pipes, who
keeps its dorsal fin from folding under,
and upon landing in the septic pond
reflects the sun’s rays off what few scales remain intact,
on its discarded body
as it searches for its next meal and
a new mate to fertilize its eggs just released
on a wayward leaf.

You must know that life is such a serious matter
so much so and to such a degree that
let’s say for example if you are sheltering
your classroom full of third graders in the
back of a storage closet, you can still hurl your own body
like a javelin, as shield or diversion, knowing that by doing so you may never know
another sunrise, a peony, a kiss, but you can do so in an instant
not because you are fearless but because you know that life
is energy, and mass, 
and gravity.

I mean
you must take living so seriously that even as the
heavy curtain of old age descends across your great stage
or your path suddenly takes a turn and your torso
tumbles down the escarpment, 
gets knocked about the stones,
you will still spend your breath to complete your poem,
or song, or painting, because you know that beauty may be
the most real part of living, and because beauty, or the idea of beauty, may be,
I mean, really may be,
the only thing that will remain as long as thought remains.

This world will end. Many have made careers
trying to predict precisely how and when. They publish papers and
win awards, and place bets, and laugh as they toss down aged cognac
in celebratory cheer. But we, we, you, must embrace
today with great adoration — sit in a puddle, stare at a rainbow until all the colors
dissolve back into the clouds, and the night falls.
When the fabric of the universe eventually
stretches beyond the event horizon, and every star,
an infinite field of extinguished embers,
collapses into the nothingness of a black hole, where gravity captures all of the
light, but time continues, maybe, just maybe, some small memory
of beauty or love will sit somewhere in the darkness and create enough
energy to ignite the bang once more.

 T. Heinonen is a research scientist, veterinarian, and entrepreneur who marvels at the beauty and mystery of the natural world as well as the wonders of human potential.  She finds joy in family and friends; exhilaration in the deep insights of scientific discoveries; and pleasure in all forms of creative expression.  She has just begun exploring her interest in writing poetry and prose to communicate these passions to a wider audience.

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