The Black Hole | Air & Space Magazine

The Black Hole

The Black Hole

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Imagine [that] the whole mass of the sun is crushed down to a radius of a few kilometers. The gravity and space curvature near this compacted sun is enormous. If a light beam were sent out to hit and bounce off this object, it would never return... Since light cannot leave this object, it "appears" as a black hole in space... An observer who fell into the center of a black hole could see time slow down. But the falling observer can never communicate his strange experience to his friend outside.
Heinz R. Pagels, Perfect Symmetry

            My brother and I planned to meet
at our secluded campsite up in Maine
                        beside an azure lake
swarming with rainbow trout. I'd hired a local plane

            to fly me to our dock, but when
I saw how beaten up it was, how queerly
            the old pilot squinted upwind
at the sun, I felt a fleeting shock of fear.

            A reject of the Wright Brothers?
Or had he built it with his son—sort of
                        a modern Daedalus?
Its banged pontoons were dented right above

            the water line which seemed to me
too high for the sad bird to lift its ass
                        for takeoff. But, by God,
it did! The pilot made, I thought, a needless pass

                        between two quarry walls,
            then brushed the treetops just to show
                        where a tornado scythed
a highway through the woods, ten years ago,

                        which wound back on itself.
When we arrived, my waiting brother waved his hands
            wildly from the dock's edge.
The pilot asked, "How's 'bout before we land

            we do a couple lucky loops?"
                        The first loop made me squeeze
my thighs against my groin, and with the second,
            wider loop, the engine wheezed,

shuddered and stopped. We slid into a nosedive,
            spinning toward the evening sun
reflected in the lake. Oh, I was falling
            through my mind's black hole, the one

                        curved space to float me home,
so slowly I had time to think that I
            alone had nothing left to know
except the circle of the sun within the sky

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