“Gravitational Time Dilation” by Katherine Lo

Katherine Lo


says a massive body, body of a large mass
will slow time, clocks here on heavy earth
ticking less often than clocks out in space,
clocks launched in rockets, racing far

from gravity’s pull. Here, the seconds spread
out, taking their time. Scientists say
the center of the earth is two and a half
years younger than its surface, and

when your body feels flung back
against the seat in a car’s acceleration,
it’s really the seat pushing you forward.
And you could never see someone fall

into a black hole, should you ever find
one while hiking or on a blind date,
because time stops at the edge
of the strongest mass contained

in a certain radius, at least in the minds
of those who understand such things,
which I do not. What I do understand
is that nothing is what it seems,

and what feels like pulling might instead
be pushing, and what feels like falling
is something rising beneath you.
Your slow drift from God is really

God running to meet you,
to throw a robe over your shoulders,
to kiss your face and ask
what took you so long to arrive?

from Rattle #61, Fall 2018


Katherine Lo: “There is much in the world around me, as well as inside me, that can wear down or erode my humanity layer by layer, bit by bit. I find that reading and writing poetry helps me regain some of that humanity, in large part by helping me see other people and the world I live in more truly. Thornton Wilder says it best in Our Town when the character Emily asks, ‘Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it—every, every minute?’ and the Stage Manager replies, ‘No,’ then amends this to, ‘The saints and poets. Maybe they do some.’” (web)

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