A cosmologist worries (about infinity)

Photo by Denis Degioanni, Unsplash; Design by punyamishra

A cosmologist worries (about infinity)
December 2019

They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars–on stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.
~ Robert Frost, Desert Places

A cosmologist, surprisingly,
Is worried
about infinity.

It is on his mind,
Clearly, since
He comes back to it 
Often, all evening.

Bollywood music and winter
Are in the air, 
As we hang out,  
Drinks in hand,
Rows of satay on the grill.

Sizzling
In his mind.

It is not the empty spaces
Or vastness, of it all
That bother him.
But rather,
It is the too-muchness
Of the idea.
Where every pattern
and its variant
Can co-exist.

What if, he asks, we live
Not in a finite
world, bounded and complete
But one that goes on
Forever
Just more and more
And unimaginably more
Unending multiples
Of love and self
And regrets and pain
Repeated ad infinitum

Ad Nauseum. 

(I, to appear smart,
mention Borges
and his fear of mirrors
and their power to multiply.)

He comes back to this topic
A steady refrain
Again and
Yes, once again.

There are no themes
He worries
In this plenitude
Just variations
And it is this idea
I figure,
That destroys his mood.

The world is too big
Anyway
I try to say
Flipping the satay
Too much to grasp 
What’s an infinity or more 
To keep us up at night.

As the chicken sizzles
And sudden laughter,
From others by the fire,
Crowds into our talk,
I imagine
Worlds beyond worlds
The same as ours,
Yet
Not the same.

One where, this poem
Ends, maybe 
With some deep insight. 

Note: Inspired by a conversation with Tanmay Vachaspati. New version posted December 10, 2019

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