ZENITH

Karen Zelas

Pulsing beyond that galaxy of light, we
are two cepheids, subject to the dark matter
of universe, the gravitational pull, the planetesimals –
perturbations resonant and periodic. In conjunction
we resist, approach escape velocity; obeying
Kepler's Law sally an ellipse about each other
through interstellar cloud, cross the terminator
from dark to light, and find the shallow bed
of a patera. Nova-like, you flare. Blinded
by your filament, I shut my eyes, careless
of my declination. You are a radiant; I dodge
the meteors and slip into your arms. Your luminosity
defies singularity. A quasar – not a supernova,
the dying of a star.


Glossary (in order of appearance):

  • Cepheid a variable star whose light pulsates in a regular cycle.
  • Dark matter is not seen, but detected by gravitational effects on other bodies.
  • Planetesimals grains of dust that collide and stick together, ultimately forming planets.
  • Perturbation the causing of a planet to deviate from a theoretically regular orbital motion.
  • Resonance a state in which an orbiting object is subject to gravitational perturbations by another.
  • Conjunction when two or more planetary objects are close together.
  • Escape velocity the speed at which an object escapes gravitational pull.
  • Kepler's (First) Law a planet orbits the sun in an ellipse, the sun being at one pole of that ellipse.
  • Interstellar cloud/medium the gas and dust that exist in open space between the stars.
  • Terminator the boundary between dark and light sides of a planet or body.
  • Patera a shallow crater with a complex, scalloped edge.
  • Nova a star that flares up several times its brightness and then returns to its regular strength.
  • Filament a strand of cool gas suspended over the photosphere by magnetic fields, which appears dark as seen against the disk of the sun.
  • Declination the angular distance of an object in the sky from a celestial equator.
  • Radiant a point in the sky from which the meteors in a meteor shower appear to radiate.
  • Luminosity the amount of light emitted by a star.
  • Singularity the centre of a black hole, where the curvature of space time is maximal. At the singularity, the gravitational tides diverge. Theoretically, no solid object can survive hitting the singularity.