graphics mode c r o s s X c o n n e c t previous | next

| main page
| issue contents
| contributors
| e-mail us
   b a c k g r o u n d    r a d i a t i o n

--- L E O N O R E   W I L S O N

They say a cold radio-noise fills the universe, 
	a relic of the time when radiation ceased to interact 

with matter, half a million years after the big bang. 

Imagine this noise killing the pygmy bat, 
	one that died on the trail, 

died supine with his wings jutted like elbows 
	covering his ears; 

imagine he heard a pure sound in the forest 
	like the voice Francis of Assisi 

heard, saying, "Go and build my ruined house!" 

How many zealots at that time 
	of the reformation were prompted 

by divine commands, and how many 
	were deemed mad, those burning with such fever 

that all they ate for years was Christ's daily 
	flesh, imagine those astronomers 

working in New Jersey hearing the lingering echo 
	of the universe when matter and radiation 

separated, world suddenly becoming 
	transparent, when the sea of radiation 

was left cooling on its own until fifteen 
	billion years later, by then it would be 

detected; imagine those astronomers 

after the sound entered them 
	when the unbelievable became certain, 

imagine the divine ecstasy and horror of it, 
	that moment when they found themselves 

open to the void.

© crossconnect, inc 1995-2002 |
published in association with the |
university of pennsylvania's kelly writers house |