Einstein would go to the Café Bollwerk
to contemplate eternity in time.
I do the equivalent at Denny’s,
although suburban Pittsburgh is no Berne
and Pennsylvania even further from Switzerland.
I don’t mean this in some tiresome way
where Einstein’s years in a patent office
were somehow more cosmopolitan than
a cubicle – both are vacuums of the soul.
But becoming certain that time would cease
if he were riding on a beam of light;
or just having coffee and a cigar
over some banter and the newspapers;
with twentieth-century physics right there
at the lively table of unknown men –
well, I know little of Einstein and less
of science, but I know the Café Bollwerk,
I know those evenings and the long work days
preceding them, I know the energy
of the exhausted early morning tram
and the wish that the day might be different
and that, going the speed of light, the passing
buildings might bend inward and become unreachable.
Tim Miller’s poetry and essays have appeared in Parabola, The Wisdom Daily, Crannog, Southword, Londongrip, Poethead, Albatross, The Journal (Wales), and others across the US and UK. Two recent books include Bone Antler Stone (poetry, The High Window Press) and the long narrative poem To the House of the Sun (S4N Books).