The poems included in this issue are part of a sequence concerning the life of the New Zealand cosmologist Beatrice Tinsley (1941-1981).
Her husband is often away for his fieldwork analysing the light of aurorae. She has never seen the aurora herself and has never gone with him on any of his trips, but she’s seen many pictures. The one that sticks in her mind is the one that shows green light-waves flickering and cascading down the sky, folding themselves into sheets of red.
The light emitted by distant galaxies
takes billions of light-years to reach us.
It comes from a far younger universe,
somewhere since expanded and receded,
somewhere where no one ever worried
about ironing their husband’s shirts
or arranging after-school childcare
because there were no ironing boards
and no children and no husbands
and no one to think of them,
only this time-travelling light,
this ghost light that reaches her
at dawn as she sits at the kitchen table
testing equations for galactic models
in the expanding and receding minutes
just before her children wake.
A dark mole on the inner curve of her left knee.
A small, cool star.
A galaxy near the end of its life cycle, its gas clouds no longer collapsing to form stars.
A drop of blood on the bathmat.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nina Powles is the author of the poetry chapbook Girls of the Drift (Seraph Press, 2014) and self-published poetry zines (auto)biography of a ghost and Underwater Dreams. For her 2015 MA in Creative Writing, she wrote a poetic biography of stars, ghosts, and bioluminescent creatures.