The Speed of Light

Faster than the speed of light

In which the poet imagines that time twists around after scientists appear to have accelerated a particle faster than light (but alas, it was a loose wire that resulted in inaccurate measurements, the particle did not exceed light speed.)

Geneva (Reuters) An international team of scientists said on Thursday they had recorded sub-atomic particles traveling faster than light—a finding that could overturn one of Einstein’s long-accepted fundamental laws of the universe. —“Particles found to break speed of light,” Robert Evans, 22 September 2011.

A particle apparently arrived slices
of a millisecond earlier than expected.
Faster than light, it knocked on the door
relatively early on a Saturday night.

The hosts had not readied the party
or sent the invitations yet, as time compressed
events into a singularity—understanding
slipped away and arrived before it left.

The single green parrot flew above the road,
its raucous call cheering the sight of the race
with time and space as a lone soldier stood guard
over the abandoned barracks of this particular dream.

A sub-atomic speeding ticket noted the date and time
of all events but perhaps its clock shifted with condensation,
a dewy drop of time dripping down the broken windshield
while the galactic waltz shifted on its axis at something

much less than the beating butterfly wing.
The whole of history would stop if we observed Shabbat
or made peace or sang a simple harmonic note,
a hidden breath of a name written by the smallest bit

of nothing as it raced to beat itself to the drummer’s distant
dance. It’s another observation point, this faster-than-light
speed, a stretching and tightening of time and space
that allows the smallest slice of a millisecond rest

before the melody continues.

—Michael Dickel


Originally appeared in:
Diogen pro kultura magazin / pro culture magazine. Dec. 25, 2012. Online. And in my book Midwest / Mid-East (2012).

Also posted on Michael Dickel’s blog.


I curate The Poet by Day, and am a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. The Poet by Day [] is an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights. Email for permissions, commissions, or assignments. I am also the founding editor of "The BeZine" and manage all associated activities. Email:

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