Einstein and Kaluza

John McAuley

Einstein reads a letter from Theodor Franz Kaluza,
dated 1919 and franked Konigsberg––birthplace of Kant.
A five dimensional cylinder universe is proposed by Kaluza,
who writes, “It’s far more complicated than
I burn a hole in my coat, here, emptying my pipe,
while a sentient being suffers an ulceration, there….”

Einstein blinks, pauses, and rubs his nose, wishing
for the real mustache that will come later. He reads on:
“As such, atoms contrive through some sub-electric force
to cover the entire circumferential surface
of the construct––a masterpiece, dare I say, of mythos,
the axle of all physical laws, hallowed by the simple––well,
I will let you speculate. Yours in towering intellect, K.”

Einstein puts the letter in the breast pocket of his hunting jacket,
the one with the leather collar, and develops a myalgia
for his boyhood dreams. Within two years, mass slows up light
and clocks run backwards. The public mind grows so uncertain
that it grasps at shadows as they were. The universe is unmoved.
Taking a postcard, Einstein finally responds:
“Composure is essential; horses are passing this place.”