‘Fancy a bagel?’ Asks Elsa,
‘Cream cheese and salmon, sliced thin
I made them especially this morning
A good way for your day to begin.’
Albert sighs, and unfolds his napkin.
Tucks it in to his vest like a king
Willing his wife to be silent
He can’t concentrate on a thing.
‘I know they’re your favourite’ Chirps Elsa
‘A full stomach will help you to think
I promise I won’t interrupt you.’
And she busies herself at the sink.
‘Did I tell you I bought a new vacuum?
These carpets have put us to shame!
Do you think you could ask for a pay rise?
After all, money’s better than fame.
The curtains are terribly faded,
And the drains are beginning to smell
The leg of this chair’s a bit wobbly
And the table’s got woodworm as well.’
Albert lowers his eyes to the table
Sees the hole where the worm has got in
He traces its path with his fingers
And the germ of an idea sets in.
Albert turns his mind back to his breakfast
He picks up a bagel, still warm
He peers at the hole in its centre
And an idea’s beginning to form.
‘I know you’ve been busy’ Chimes Elsa
‘And you’ve got a new theory! That’s swell!
And how sweet that you called it Relativity,
With us being cousins as well.’
Albert’s banging his head on the table.
He can’t see an ending in sight.
Will his wife talk inanely for ever?
He’s not sure, but he thinks that she might.
There’s a hole in his sock that annoys him,
Where his big toe is poking right through.
He wishes that Elsa would mend it,
Keep her quiet for a minute or two.
‘My life’s full of holes’ Albert muses,
‘Black holes, where some substance should be:
My socks. Elsa’s head. Table. Bagel.
It’s all too confusing for me.’
He bangs his fist down in frustration
Sends the plate full of bagels a-spin
‘Now see what you’ve done, Bert’ scolds Elsa
Albert brushes a crumb from his chin.
Albert stares, vacantly, at the chaos
Not bagels alone does he see
But the spinning black holes at their centre
The gateway to infinity.