In the post-relativity universe,
where measurement has lost all certainty,
the most flexible unit of time
is the weekend.
From Friday night to Monday morning
time stretches and blurs, contracts and bends.
On end-of-the-working-week Fridays
time slows to a stroll.
and we watch the slow-motion stutter and spin
of the subatomic dance of quarks,
their strangeness and whimsy clearly defined
against the steady electrical hum.
On speedy, partying Saturday nights
time accelerates to breakneck.
Lost in its speed,
we watch the ocean boil
and the volcano-birthing clash of tectonic plates
as the planet re-forms itself.
On lazy, hungover Sunday afternoons
time drags to an almost stop.
At the flick of a switch,
light cascades honey-slow from ceiling to floor,
Einstein’s c reduced to a billionth
of what it should be.
And on Monday morning time rights itself.
An hour takes an hour, a minute a minute
and we sit and watch our watches,
counting down the second-long seconds,
waiting until next weekend.
Bonus extra unasked-for authorial statement:
Not Quite the Man for the Job, in which this poem first appeared, included a subject index (a nice little gimmick that I carried with me when I started editing Going Down Swinging, which I’m happy to say continued to include subject indices after I stepped down as co-editor) that to my great shame and chagrin includes a listing for one Alfred Einstein. Neither I nor my editor, or the proofreader, picked up the error until it was too late. There was one other science-related error in the book, but that’s an anecdote for another time.