String Theory

Scientists are still trying to find out what makes the cosmos tick.

I don’t even know what makes my dad work, bright thwarted man

that he is, would have outdone us all, had he the funds at eighteen,

not been sucked instead into the singularity of the rest of his life,

all that space and nothing to fill it with, no choice but to walk

from here to there, the long way around. One theory suggests

there are several secret dimensions curled up in every particle of nature,

these incredible long vibrating strings at the heart of everything.

Everything: an endless, restless rift, a violent concerto in a minor key

beyond the range of hearing, a song that pulls at the world, is gravity…


Alvin Pang (b. 1972) is a Singaporean poet writing in English and Chinese who was named 2005 Young Artist of the Year by the National Arts Council Singapore. His first book of poems, Testing the Silence (1997), garnered positive critical attention, many honors and awards, and was followed up by City of Rain (2003). His work, with a focus on humanity’s relationship with technology, has appeared in numerous anthologies. He currently edits an online poetry anthology.

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