Star Crossed

by Igor Teper

Big Bang. A sea of roiling chaos.

Two photons, entangled at the moment of their birth,
Shoot off in opposite directions,
Harbingers of causality.

They journey outward as the universe expands,
Witness the birth of galaxies and stars
As matter coalesces into structure.

Gravity slowly slows the manifold explosion
Space curves in on itself; the photons' paths converge.
Across the universe from where they parted,
They mingle energies once more.

"Have we met?" wonders one aloud.
"Kiss me," the other whispers, and is gone.

For a moment, the universe stands still.
Then — collapse.

The photons each trace back the other's outward path.
They watch the end of all that once began
As entropy smears out and erases every meaning.

Photons themselves are spared the ravages of time.
Traveling at the speed of light,
They exist forever in the moment of their creation.

Faster, ever faster, the cosmos contracts.
All things rush to the center and are swallowed up.
Amidst the dying embers of existence,
Where there is little time and little space to put it,
The photons meet again.

"I love you!" shouts one.
"Forever," swears the other.

With their embrace, the universe ends.

Copyright © 2005, Igor Teper

Igor Teper does unspeakable things to perfectly innocent atoms at temperatures near absolute zero. He has been fighting a losing battle with reading addiction since he was seven, and easy access to a university library has only made things worse. His fiction has previously appeared in Strange Horizons, Ideomancer, Nuketown and Another Showcase; this is his first published poem.

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Image of Herbig-Haro 32 courtesy of NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)