Relativity for Lotte Jacobi

As we go down in the dark the slight
Icy slope to the car, the grip of your hands
On my shoulders tells me you’re right
Behind me and upright. I don’t understand
Relativity, but forty-some years ago
You photographed Albert Einstein, and
Today I saw his soft eyes, below
The fine accumulation of his hair,
Random, gentle, abstract hair, as though
His thought like pipesmoke issued on the air;
I saw his sailboat drifting, his violin
Waiting his hands. And always I felt you there,
Younger than I am now you must have been,
Holding your camera as if you took a friend
By the shoulders to show him something you’d seen
If the universe is a slope all things descend,
If the speed of light is the only absolute,
What every atom dreams of as its end,
On this icy path, if I should slip, would we shoot
Like lasers into the dark, a double star?
Old hands on my shoulders, be my parachute,
Help me go slow And so we reach the car,
Waiting to take us wherever we’re headed tonight,
And laughing, say to each other, “Here we are!”
—C. W. Pratt