The Universe, as in One Last Song for the Lonely Hearts

This poem is inspired by both Eugenio Montale’s “People talk and talk more” and the life cycle of our Universe. There is a theory that the final phase of our Universe is the Black Hole Era, where black holes slowly creep across cold space until there’s nothing left. This image struck me as lonely, and I became curious about the scale of the Universe and how life, in its abundance and ubiquity, is still in its infancy. If we were to scale down the age of the Universe into a human lifespan, it would be only nanoseconds old. Not enough time to even open its eyes.

I believe the blackest hole is the one we inhabit
—Eugenio Montale

Imagine a time before morning. When light was just fire bending into space. Imagine when the Universe unfolded like a silk cloth in the wind, singing and building life the way a child makes puppets from socks: clumsily sewing carbon to oxygen and nitrogen to hydrogen then pushing its hand up your throat. Our Universe isn’t gentle, but it sang us into existence. Even everything wants something else sometimes. But these days, the lines around our eyes curve like comets. Our hearts beat like dying stars. Like the Universe, we are destined to end. To become black holes chasing after each other. Our bones making kin with weasels and ivy and mirth and rust in the blackest one. We will haunt space like mist over lakes. It will certainly be the closest we’ve ever been, and we will be singing:

I remember life.
There was so much. I held it
all. I held it all.

Michelle Hulan (she/her) is a poet and writer whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poet Lore, Mud Season Review, and elsewhere. She is a graduate of the University of Ottawa’s MA in English program and a Tin House Writer’s Workshop alum. She lives in Brooklyn with her partner, child, and Pomeranian. Follow her on Twitter @michellehulan.



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