by Greg Beatty

Due to hubris and tradition,
Americans are heliocentric.
Each of us the only sun
centering the universe.

The universe thinks otherwise;
just look into the night sky.
Away from the city it gleams
with a million billion stars.

The sky’s not America
but India, teeming with
hosts of stellar selves
shining neatly into castes.

From the Brahman O’s
to untouchable black holes
of Calcutta, they are
each unique, but casteifiable.

Believing hard in choice,
Americans find solo stars natural,
but watchers count many arranged
binaries, circling in happy orbits.

The Big Bang’s attractive too.
One big party, then the universe
expands forever, like a good
economy should. But—

of late we’ve come to see,
by sending theory vultures
near Parsi towers of silence,
that reincarnation too is true.

And stars like men
move on circular paths.
We’re born, we burn
we die. Our ashes,

collapsing, gray, and cooling,
beget another star. Still
us, but brighter, denser, metal
rich; mature a little sooner.

And the universe? Rather
than one glorious run
from light to dark, we pass
from light to dark to light,

or, lurching to a halt,
we slam other universes
into being, sparking worlds
and loves to light.

And we the people will
be theory unto them,
our more perfect union just the
bump that begat their big bang.

Less than myths or ghosts,
we’ll be impetus and math.
Still, when entropy’s won, we’ll
live on. That’s something, no?

Copyright © 2005, Greg Beatty

North American and Pelican Nebulae

Copyright © Herm Perez

Greg Beatty attended Clarion West in the summer of 2000. He's had a number of short stories accepted since then. (For more information on his writing, visit his web site.) When he's not at his computer, he enjoys cooking, practicing martial arts, and having complex interpersonal relationships. Since he thinks of himself more as a fiction writer than a poet, Greg was surprised that two of his poems were nominated for this year's Rhysling award. Pleased, but surprised.

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