Orel Protopopescu



Don’t mix with physicists. I was mistaken
to think that I’d be stirred, but I was shaken!
They need no laws beyond the elemental
to prove the world we love is accidental,
that from a Bang! erupted time and space,
prerequisites to make our human race.

Not happy with five senses, three dimensions,
some theorists like to posit vast extensions
beyond this cosmological debris—
our universe, a bubble in a sea
of short-lived multiverses, if you will,
all popping in and out of space until
they violate our human intuition
and leave us in a maddening condition.

Right now our bubble seems to be expanding,
but that can’t keep it from, one day, disbanding.
For if some other bubble got ambitious,
forget our stars, no matter how auspicious.
Another Bang! would mean the end of this
experiment, with one brief, fatal kiss.

The math holds up, and yet the mind rebels
against chaotic cauldrons bubbling hells
that even if they’re only hypothetical
and all these multiverses theoretical,
still leave us in a listing ship—Existence,
doomed to go Boom! with no hope of assistance.

In this, the only universe we know,
most of the matter doesn’t even show.
Dark matter and dark energy prevail,
the densest ending to a senseless tale
I tell in multiverses, reassuring
you anxious souls, so far we are enduring.

But what is left to do if worlds collide?
Here’s my advice to you: Just stay inside.

Little Donald

Little Donald built a wall,
told Cook, “I’ll deport you all!”
She kicked it down and yelled, “Shut up!
Who makes your tacos, silly pup?”


We sorely need some extra hells
reserved for greedy bank cartels.
Where is the Bosch who can create
fit miseries that captivate?

For all book cookers, let them eat
charred paper on a burning seat.
For money launderers and mules—
Spin-cycling in hot, sudsy pools.

For ponzi schemers and rogue traders,
shanties shared with pension raiders,
fire pit views of subprime lenders
dangling from thin, frayed suspenders.

For groups that buy up foreclosed homes
to make investment honeycombs
that drip with rentals from the poor—
A cozy, snake pit sinecure.

But what of predatory bankers
floating loans like super tankers?
Send them down the River Styx
in sinking tubs stuffed with gold bricks!

Orel Protopopescu has been married to a physicist for more years than the light from the star Arcturus has taken to reach us. She won the Oberon prize for poetry in 2010. Her poems have appeared in several reviews, anthologies, and a chapbook, What Remains. A Thousand Peaks, Poems from China (with Siyu Liu) was selected for the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age list. Two Sticks (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) was on Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2008 list. Thelonious Mouse, a picture book (FSG), won a Crystal Kite, 2012, from SCBWI. A Word’s a Bird, her animated, bilingual poetry book for iPad, was on SLJ’s list of ten best children’s apps, 2013.