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
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.
MORE FROM SUMMER 2022 (4:1)
2021 Prose Chapbook Winner
Resistance, Sue Mell (an excerpt)
A Conversation with Sue Mell and Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar, Prose Chapbook Winner and Finalist, Maria S. Picone, Managing Editor
Cataloging Ghosts, Carlos Contreras
Dalí, Renée Jessica Tan
How To Use Your Father’s Lawn Mower, Yasmin Nadiyah Phillip
Our Trespassing, Joel Worford
The Puddling, Mattea Heller
Il Lupo Mannaro, Stephanie Staab
When it happens, you let it happen, Lynne Schmidt
Holiday Party 2017, Kim Ellingson
Ninety Days, Remi Recchia
The Universe, as in One Last Song for the Lonely Hearts, Michelle Hulan
Saudade Accuses Brown Girl, Yvanna Vien Tica
windmills over Zaandam, Gabriela Gonzales
Fold the Shadows, Cate McGowan
Intercession, Sasha Wade
Fluidity, Patrick van Raalten
Yellow Purse, William C. Crawford
Blankness Was the Beauty, Carolyn Guinzio
Telephone, Moses Ojo
Skin Over Milk Cover Art, Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad
Egress, Phil Temples