THE SPEED OF LIGHT – a poem by John J. Brugaletta


A billion light years is a fantasy
to me and to a lot of other folks.
It ripples off the tongue like meet for tea
and many other phrases, even jokes.

But try to think of it in miles or feet.
How many trips to buy a fifth of booze?
That speed your shot goes in a game of skeet—
the pellets are not fast at all. They ooze.

Before and after all our lives, the stars
explode, black holes collide and spread in trillions
while we eat breakfast, read a book, drive cars.
We live our tiny lives in modest millions.

Yet we, and maybe only we, observe
and think of it. It’s that way that we serve.


John J. Brugaletta has seven volumes of his poetry in print; the latest of these is Selected Poems (Future Cycle Press, 2019). He is a professor emeritus at California State University, Fullerton, and an ELCA Lutheran.

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