IN THE TIME BEFORE TIME
James C. Henderson
I learned last night on the Discovery Channel
that the universe is made up of three things:
matter, energy, and space.
“But what about time?” I asked Professor Stephen Hawking
who stared at me implacably and did not answer.
It took me time to write this poem; it takes you time to read to it.
It also takes time for the universe to expand, n’est-ce pas?
Turns out, there was no time before the creation of the universe
when galaxies, pulsars, quasars, nebulae, and black holes—
everything we call home—
and even the dark space in-between
was all condensed down into an infinitesimal speck
sitting in the palm of the hand of no one there.
In the way back time, in the time before time
like the time before I met you, nothing existed, not even time.
No wonder I felt so miserable.
Then you walked into the room
blowing a strand of hair from your face like some cosmic string
and bang, everything made sense—life began.
Still, I can’t believe nothing existed before it existed.
I mean, I have a distinct memory that we have always been together.
Eons before I was a long-tailed comet, full of myself
and you were the sun around which all revolves
in the way back time, in the time before time
I remember clearly I worshipped you.
And all about me was your heavenly light.