We are, each of us,
a universe unto ourselves.
Birth’s big bang gives way

to childhood’s super expansion
as various galaxies, solar systems,
stars and planets settle out

and we gather family, friends,
lovers, and careers around us,
and the belief system

that will guide this universe,
a self that’s conscious of its own
physical laws and the values defining them.

And then the unknown:
Is it contraction or expansion?
Is there a difference?

Absolute cold or intense heat?
Either, a lightless oblivion:
this particular universe gone forever.

There is only here.
There is only now. 
And beyond that, the infinite dark silence.


Ed Werstein, Milwaukee, is the East Region VP of the WFOP. He received the Council of Wisconsin Writers Lorine Niedecker Award in 2019. His poems appears in many journals and anthologies including Blue Collar Review, Stoneboat, Gysoscope Review, and Rosebud.