Stephen Hawking
Bryan Dietrich  (bio)

You awaken to find your wife gone from bed.
She’s always been hot. So hot, once, she made
the image of a body on your inflatable camping
mattress. But now that she’s vanished, her heat
is missing, her imprint fading fast. You wonder
where she’s gone, what she’s left, and discover
the urge to go outside, to stand, unnatural, under
the stars. You bring, to your surprise, two beers.
In the yard, Stephen Hawking waits. You find
him there between the wrought-iron and crabapple.
You hand him his beer and, not ungenerously,
he neglects to mention your nakedness. His own
clothes hang from his frame like his face hangs
from his bones, his eyes more volatile than you
ever imagined. His voice comes slowly, like
a broken fax. Stephen Hawking tells you there is
a hole in space. It is a billion light-years across.
It is cold. The hole he describes lies ten billion
light-years away. It holds no matter, no dark matter,
but, he says, it is filled with what makes us expand.

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