The Science of Time

The Science of Time

Time ticks faster
on the mountaintop
than on the beach.
Maybe so close to the pull
of our earth’s unique iron heart
the need to hurry melts away.

Time zooms for the girl
turning nine in Kauai with cousins.
Time glitches by a hospital bed,
even one with a mountain view
and an alarm set to sound
when the patient exits the bed.

Time squeezes and squishes,
moving like mud when the family doors close
to the pandemic and we huddle inside
baking bread, popping in and out of Zoom boxes,
and nursing the baby in a glider that click-clacks.

Time gallops and layers for the mother
snapping photos of the daughter
in a shiny, slinky pink prom dress,
posing on the Capitol steps.
In the background, the preschooler
on a Strawberry Shortcake bike somehow wobbles by.
Even the infant still gazes up.

Time-space imploded in my high school brain.
Einstein’s Theory of Relativity:
If Joe goes to Mars and his twin, John, stays home,
Joe is younger than John when he comes home.
How did shooting off into the distant darkness
also free Joe from the tick-tock of the clock?
I had not yet read even the atomic clock can’t be trusted
on the mountain and the sea.
While the classroom radiators clanked and hissed their rhythm,
I kept asking question after question
until my teacher shrugged his big shoulders and gave up.

My mind did not yet know
the ways that time speeds and slows.
My time was still always rushing forward.

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