“Time Travel for Beginners” by Ardon Shorr

Ardon Shorr


Every crumb of starlight 
sails across the universe, 
the journey of a million years 
to end inside our eyes.
Except I was looking at you,
canvas coverall cinched at the waist,
as you undressed me with photons,
wrapped me in stories, 
painted with x-rays,
until everything glowed 
with backstory—the names of trees, 
the name of an extinguished star,
still visible, ghost in the sky, 
climbing a staircase of optic nerve 
into an afterlife of sight.
Hand on my hand you pointed to the past:
the sun, an 8-minute time machine,
the moon, one second old,
and the incredible now,
unfolding like a cone,
megaphone of memory stretched to the sky
and balanced on the tip was us,
a luminous shout
of life at the speed of light.
In a blink, this moment reaches the moon.
When we pack up the hammock, it floats
in the acid clouds of Venus.
Which means that somewhere, there is a spot,
past the gaps in Saturn’s rings,
beyond the storms of Jupiter,
outside the curved embrace of the Milky Way,
at least one place in the universe,
where you could turn around and see us,
back when we were still in love.

from Rattle #82, Winter 2023
Rattle Poetry Prize Winner


Ardon Shorr: “I was trained as a scientist. There’s this moment in an experiment where you can ask a question of the universe and actually get an answer. It’s like something is speaking to you, and for a moment, you’re the only one who knows it. Then you get to share it. Poetry is how I return to that moment.” (web)

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