big bang

Before I learned the risk in expectations

or how black holes warp spacetime,


I leaned over my uncle’s telescope

mounted like a SCUD in the vinyl bed of his blue Ford


and listened as my mom told my aunt, Oh,

I named him after his dad.


My left lashes tickled the aluminum eyepiece

as I searched the sky for Gemini


in that thick, moonless advent,

gloved fingers stirring silver exhalations


that curled like incense, like ghosts

instead of angels. My uncle wanted us to see


some not-famous comet. I wanted to see

the twins that mapped my start. I’ll show you


in the spring, he promised, assuming the future so soon

after Grandpa had become past tense a week before


I heard my mom on the phone, whispering

Let’s do something Daddy always enjoyed.


I wondered where Grandpa really went, what

he really believed, if he ever smiled, why


I did not know his middle name before I read his obituary.

I named you after your dad, my mom said


over her shoulder, holding my dad’s hand

as they walked home ahead of me.

Hailing from the farm valleys of west Appalachia, Ben Kline lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, toiling away on his full-length manuscript and two chapbooks, drinking just the right amount of bourbon and more coffee than seems wise. His work is forthcoming or has recently appeared in Graviton, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, petrichor, Riggwelter, Grist Online, Trailer Park Quarterly, Rappahannock Review, Toe Good and many more. You can read more at