“Shreds and Tatters” by Jennifer Crow

Alas, the day came
when even our skillful needles
plied with undying silicon fingers
could not stitch together
the worn fabric of our universe.

At first the damage, tucked
between more interesting destinations,
seemed a momentary problem
compared to war or even accident,
a small price for our journey starward.

Travelers noted the universe
someday would die, and us with it
if our clever monkey minds
failed to fashion an exit.
So why trouble ourselves
over the smaller holes, when a gaping
nightmare awaited us all?

While those of us with the gift
for repair—for even seeing the damage—
drew threads of light and gravity
through the gaps, pulled them taut,
fixed our knots to black holes
and neutron stars. An endless task
for deathless people, our sight
made strange by eons.

And still the warp and weft
of time loosened, frayed,
and grew ever weaker where we patched
and patched again. Our reverence
became frustration, our avocation
a nightmare of galaxies disintegrating
star by star, while wilder minds
sought the way beyond.

Perhaps, in the end, some found a way
to another node in the multiverse.
Perhaps. We have seen no living soul
in a blue star’s lifetime, and the last
of those fast-burning lights now
gasps and collapses. One by one,
worlds wink out of existence.

We ready our needles in the darkness
and wonder if our fate always pointed
to this forsaken universe
and its torn and tattered end.

Shy and nocturnal, Jennifer Crow has rarely been photographed in the wild, but it’s rumored that she lives near a waterfall in western New York. You can find other examples of her poetry on several websites and in various print magazines including Uncanny Magazine, Wondrous Real, and Analog Science Fiction. She’s always happy to connect with readers on her Facebook author page or on twitter @writerjencrow.