August 14, 2020

Shift

posted on: Wednesday April 14, 2010

Bobby Bretz ’12 / Portfolio Staff

What if I put someone else first?What if I got to use any of the dialogues I practice, In my head, while I stare at the ceiling at night?Yes, and what if the world stopped turning in an instant—An impossible thing, of course, but nevertheless—If the whole thing just halted, like some giant top seizedIn the course of its perfect celestial danceBy some equally giant and, I suppose, omnipotent hand?The mountains would roar with discomfort,The greatest constructions of man would be uprooted, tornFrom their substrata like trees from the earth,Blown away as if they stood witness to some nuclear firestorm.Myself, I should be dashed upon the wall before meOr else slung out into the frigid, gaping darkness of the void.Lest this appear a selfish appraisal of fate, note:Of this destruction, we are all allotted our equitable share.Or what if every particle in the universe,Regardless of location, of velocity, of angular momentum,Every boson, every fermion, everything,Shifted a meter in the same direction, at the same time?Quite improbable: Write “zero-point-zero…”, thenContinue writing zeros until you die, and pass the buck.Let a member of each generation contribute zerosFrom the cradle to the grave for, say, the next million years,Then “…percent.” But ignore the odds for a moment.What would happen to us, besides, of course, shifting ourselves?I imagine that nothing would appear any different—Would anything be different? I suppose we should be unaffected,Or perhaps rent terribly.Or better yet: What if I thought of you for a change?

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