a universe 4 years in the making

Elaine Lee

Orinda, CA

Miramonte High School

Poetry

this is a universe 4 years in the making
there was no bang, no rapid burst of black holes that tore gaping caverns in nonexistent 
fabric 
no razing or creating. 
it was not an explosion that created this universe 
but the slow drip of moments
the feathery accumulation of time 
dust collecting on dog-eared report cards and once-worn prom dresses and
and settling amid photographs of frozen laughter and bright big eyes 
layer upon layer 
undetected, 
unyielding. 

this is a universe 4 years in the making
there was no bang so there was no fusion 
no photons – no light. 
but swirling morasses of chattering teeth and shivering hearts 
consolidated into the first planets that no one saw 
the warm salt water rain lasted for millennia 
seeping under doors and poisoning the fish – 
though the eel, the skylark, the blob fish did perfectly fine. 
there lie the remnants of the age-old flood 
the bone-dry flakes of sodium chloride 
that still crunch like fresh snow under my sneakers.

this is a universe 4 years in the making
there was no bang but there was gravity 
the dark syrupy sludges sank into the earth and polished into planets 
but the crystallized breaths, the quirks of lips…they floated 
into the heavens, the galaxies 
the everything else. 
they raced soundlessly across the horizons 
sprouted green reaching tentacles amidst the cracked earth 
they were the lifeboats, the ships, the submarines that sailed despite the storm. 

one day not too far from now 
i’ll look at the 
dust collecting on dog-eared report cards and once-worn prom dresses
settling amid photographs of frozen laughter and bright big eyes. 
the clouds will wring themselves again 
but amid the buckets of brine there will be a smile 

there were no photons… 
so we made our own 
no razing or creating… 

oh but raze and create we did. 
this was a universe four years in the making
and now i start again.

 

EDITORIAL PRAISE

Such a delicate, subtle balance that the poet manages. A beautiful hint at purpose.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elaine Lee graduated from Miramonte High School in Orinda, California in 2019. She is currently a freshman at Columbia University. In her free time, she enjoys drawing, playing violin, hanging out with her plants, and rereading Harry Potter and The Handmaid's Tale for the umpteenth time.