by Matthew Cannizzaro
Amputated human beings, only
gears, nuts and bolts that make up
the machine. Oh woe, who are we
but the first positive proton
to survive its opposite, the first
fiery bursts of fusion
to breathe light into blackness.
The first hydrogen atom
to find its partner, the first
galaxies swirling— dancing—
to gravity’s tune. We are
the Earth’s first rain, mud puddle
and microbe, the first furry mammal
and the last dinosaur.
We are the last breath of humanity,
the Sun’s last ray of visible light,
the first collision of solar systems
and the last star’s supernova.
We are the last breath of the universe
the silent second before heat death.
We— not humanity, not Americans,
or any nationality, not homo sapiens
but we, the consciousness that exists to say
the universe knows itself,
are the widest rings in a ripple
riding waves set into motion
over 13 billion years ago.