Relativity by Michael Mark


Mom fell at the casino in Atlantic City                                                                                                               and tripped at the Holocaust Center.  But this is not
the “slipping” my father calls about. 

“I’m slipping, too,” I share,                                                                                                                                      now in my sixtieth year. While we’re circling the matter,
I Google how fast the Earth rotates  

around the sun:  67,000 mph. And though I didn’t ask,                                                                                a day lasts only 23 hours 56 minutes
and 4 seconds. “It’s just age,” he says and, of course he’s right –

which leaves us exactly where? I tell him about the kids, the weather,                                                  my golf woes. He tells me about the weather, a leaky
faucet, returns to the weather.  The Buddhists say

the instant we break we become new.                                                                                                              None of us wants new.
The Big Bang continues to explode inside my mother.

Down to eighty pounds, her once reliable brain, combusting                                                                    at an unbearable rate, will soon force me to glide
inside a 970,000 pound aluminum tube through 3000 miles

               of air  

from Southern California’s giddy sunshine to the solid                                                                              greys of Queens. And if the captain announces, “Fasten
your seatbelts – we’re expecting some turbulence,”

I will slip the metal clasp into the buckle and pull the belt                                                                         snugly across my waist.                      

Michael Mark is a hospice volunteer and long distance walker. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Cimarron Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Pleiades, River Styx, Spillway, Sugar House Review, The Sun, Verse Daily and The Poetry Foundation’s American Life in Poetry. His poetry has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes and the Best of the Net.