Tim Pratt
SF and Fantasy Writer

Scientific Romance Redux

I wrote this poem for my wife on Valentine’s Day two years ago. The problem is, I don’t think I’ll ever write a better Valentine’s Day poem (though I’ll keep trying). But for all you lovers (and lovers of science fiction) here it is again:

Scientific Romance

If starship travel from our
Earth to some far
star and back again
at velocities approaching the speed
of light made you younger than me
due to the relativistic effects
of time dilation,
I’d show up on your doorstep hoping
you’d developed a thing for older men,
and I’d ask you to show me everything you
learned to pass the time
out there in the endless void
of night.

If we were the sole survivors
of a zombie apocalypse
and you were bitten and transformed
into a walking corpse
I wouldn’t even pick up my
assault shotgun,
I’d just let you take a bite
out of me, because I’d rather be
undead forever
with you
than alive alone
without you.

If I had a time machine, I’d go back
to the days of your youth
to see how you became the someone
I love so much today, and then
I’d return to the moment we first met
just so I could see my own face
when I saw your face
for the first time,
and okay,
I’d probably travel to the time
when we were a young couple
and try to get a three-way
going. I never understood
why more time travelers don’t do
that sort of thing.

If the alien invaders come
and hover in stern judgment
over our cities, trying to decide
whether to invite us to the Galactic
Federation of Confederated
Galaxies or if instead
a little genocide is called for,
I think our love could be a powerful
argument for the continued preservation
of humanity in general, or at least,
of you and me
in particular.

If we were captives together
in an alien zoo, I’d try to make
the best of it, cultivate a streak
of xeno-exhibitionism,
waggle my eyebrows, and make jokes
about breeding in captivity.

If I became lost in
the multiverse, exploring
infinite parallel dimensions, my
only criterion for settling
down somewhere would be
whether or not I could find you:
and once I did, I’d stay there even
if it was a world ruled by giant spider-
priests, or one where killer
robots won the Civil War, or even
a world where sandwiches
were never invented, because
you’d make it the best
of all possible worlds anyway,
and plus
we could get rich
off inventing sandwiches.

If the Singularity comes
and we upload our minds into a vast
computer simulation of near-infinite
complexity and perfect resolution,
and become capable of experiencing any
fantasy, exploring worlds bound only
by our enhanced imaginations,
I’d still spend at least 10^21 processing
cycles a month just sitting
on a virtual couch with you,
watching virtual TV,
eating virtual fajitas,
holding virtual hands,
and wishing
for the real thing.

7 Responses to “Scientific Romance Redux”

  1. Ellie Says:

    Poems written for other people are always the best ones. Happy or sad.

    Speaking (somewhat tangentially) of lovers and poetry, it was your “Orpheus Among the Cabbages” that first brought me back to writing poems after a long absence and introduced me to specfic poetry as an artistic possibility. Not that I have, since then, written so very much very well. But still. Thank you for your work. I hope you and your family are having quite a nice holiday.

  2. Tim Pratt Says:

    Thanks, Ellie!

    I don’t write much poetry myself, anymore. I should do so more often.

  3. M.A. Says:

    That is the best love poem I’ve read in my entire life! Hope to see you Sunday at the Other Change of Hob. (Dang, been reading your stuff for years; didn’t realize we’re practically neighbors.)

  4. Tim Pratt Says:

    Awesome! Hope you make it to Other Change. Be sure to introduce yourself if you do.

    I’ve been in the East Bay for about 11 years, mostly in Oakland — just moved to South Berkeley a couple years ago.

  5. Nicola Priest Says:

    This poem is so brilliant that we used it as a reading at our wedding ceremony last year. Thank you so much for writing it :-) x

  6. Tim Pratt Says:

    So glad you like it, and congratulations on the marriage!

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    [...] Scientific Romance by Tim Pratt [...]

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