September 17, 2019

Law of Physics

Do you remember when we were young?
Already we thought ahead to the time
When we would be our middle-aged selves,
Writing these exact odes to the past
Like a strung-out actor
Wondering if it’s time to quit.
The astrophysicists say there is no such thing
As free will; everything we do
Was set in motion at the big bang.
O to break free of this talent show
Where we display our cruelty
Over and over. O to believe
That kindness can be learned,
Pharaoh’s heart melted,
Nineveh chastened.
In my four-year-old’s bedroom,
Small planets made of glass
Hang from the ceiling.
I wanted to teach him
About living in our solar system.
Where is the sun? he asks,
And I tell him, It’s up to each of us
To be the sun.

Alicia Jo Rabins is a writer, musician and Torah teacher based in Portland, Ore. Her second poetry book, “Fruit Geode,” will be published by Augury Books in October.