“Broken Symmetry” by Leonore Wilson

Leonore Wilson


What has the most symmetry of all,
the physicists say, is

Nothing = pure symmetry.
You can tell

you’re in nothing

because it doesn’t make any difference
which way you
like a fish in still water who can’t tell one direction

from another. So out of the nothingness
you came, my son—

once like those particles and anti-particles
at the very beginning of the universe—

that when they met, annihilated themselves
in one pure burst,
in that very genesis like the moment of conception

when sperm and egg met, that incalculable moment
when the burst of energy began,

in that conversion of energy into matter,
there was something amiss,
the perfect symmetry of the universe

not only matter, but anti-matter became.

Lovely beginning of broken symmetry
when stuff was thrown into space!

Not all particles and their opposites joined
that which was rebellious
named itself:

planets, stars, etc.
and that which is human—
the little world of the embryo not tidy,

we = not tidy.

Something became out of nothing
and you with your love
of order, mathematics, patterns,

always looking for the why, you are

the universe itself—
you, longing to find the perfect
in the not-so-perfect,

the revelation began at your conception,
when you first swam in me
and saw all around you the fluid-void;

not only did you form, you started your own galaxy
of evolution: plant, fish, animal,

your own unimaginable

destiny you made I nurtured:

this is what links me to you—
still draws my arms up in elbows


that segment
of time and space which was all-

matter and anti-matter,

primal nine-month history

of our own big bang.

from Rattle #17, Summer 2002


Leonore Wilson: “Writing is my sanity, my prater, my connection with the mysteries of the universe. More and more I am drawn to the link between the sciences and the humanities. This I find both thrilling and fulfilling.” (web)

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