Arecibo Elegy

He stands overlooking the vast white dish

like milk poured into a jungle-covered bowl

and thinks of radiowaves reflecting into

the receiver.

“How many billions of stars are hosting worlds

where life has figured out how to talk across

the lightyears?”

But to talk in our galaxy means to wait.

The speed limit of light contracts the conversations

he imagines the worlds that do talk, waiting for generations

to get a reply. What would they say, what questions

would they ask?

Surely knowing that there were others waiting in the dark

would be so satisfying in itself…

yet he’s afraid that life is limited

the shortening of telomeres impossible to stop

the aging of our flesh taming our souls

the passion that presents as flame

turns to cool winter mornings

where the warmth of a blanket means more

then the desire to maintain the connection

to sit and listen –

stars and civilizations will wither on the grapevine

great, empty gulfs that make the vacuum will never

ring with words.

He sees the vast machines that work to listen, now

but knows that now is not forever.


3 thoughts on “Arecibo Elegy

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