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First published in A coat of ashes (Recent Work Press 2019).



February 2016


Gravitational waves

were detected last week, I said.


What are they? she asked.


It’s Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, I said.

Think of space (spacetime, I should have said)

as a rubber sheet.

Where there are heavy things on it,

like stars and planets, it bends

downwards. That’s gravity.


Oh! she said. Of course!


Yes, like ripples, I said. Einstein predicted it

years ago, and now he’s been proved correct. Of course.


But gravity is very weak.

It takes something huge

to make a tiny echo.

They detected the tiny echo

of two black holes whomping together

(my two fists punched each other)

a billion years ago.


A billion years, she said.


Yes, I said. It’s all over the web.

Everyone knows.


I didn’t know, she said.