The problem with science fiction is that reality is much, much more unbelievable.
Her father used to take her out at night
to look up at the cloudless sky
and wonder whether someone was looking back.
She would often ask,
as they hiked to the place
that framed the sky without scrapers,
if she could travel fast enough,
would she be able to see either
herself as a baby
or an alien being born
who at this moment
is the exact same age as her?
And what if a black hole
is just a big pasta machine
spaghettifying stars and quasars
for a hungry creature
with a hankering for Italian food?
And if rocket ships have to fly
faster than the speed of sound
to escape the constraints of gravity,
can the astronauts hear you cry “Goodbye?”
And if Earth lives in the Milky Way,
are there other galaxies with candy names?
If that was the case,
she would feel badly for any aliens with nut allergies
living in the “Payday Nebular Cluster.”
And her father would say,
“If the universe is infinite,
then it all exists.
There’s a planet out there
with your name on it
carved in craters over billions of years
which even got the weird spelling
of your middle name right.
There are out-of-place
stars and rogue planets
that fly between galaxies
like pool balls hopping tables
or a pinball machine featuring Mario
or any other misplaced video game.
There is a world
made entirely of bubblegum.
All the stories you’ve read,
all the dreams you wished a genie would grant you
exist somewhere in this crazy universe.
And what we can see,
from the tiniest molecule giving you energy
to the shadow of the bing bang
all those billions of years ago,
is just a fleck of paint
on a trillion piece jigsaw puzzle
(he liked to talk in metaphors
that only he understood).
“And the beauty of the thing
is that even in this vastness of space,
this infinite emptiness with more possibilities
than a lottery ticket,
you are the most important thing.
You are the dream
that a being light years away
hopes to become some day.”
And she would look at him
with the most serious look on her face
and say, “That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard.”