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Everything We Can See in the Universe Glows

DISCUSSED

 

by Jynne Dilling Martin
Illustration by Brooke Weber

Everything We Can See in the Universe Glows

Jynne Dilling Martin
18 Snaps

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A giant ice cube at South Pole Station captures
extragalactic neutrinos. Please take me to where you are,

pleaded the pregnant Korean widow to her lost love
in a sixteenth-century letter an archaeologist

found folded in a tomb. Telescopes see only light;
faces from our dreams, unspoken desires, dead stars

go undetected. Come to me secretly and show yourself
she whispered. Hans Spemann plucked a fine hair

from his newborn daughter to tie an embryo egg in half.
The microscope zooms in on a freshly formed eyeball

gazing expectantly back. The archaeologist feels ill,
presses twice-boiled tea leaves to his forehead,

unfolds and refolds the letter again. The fastest thing
in the universe is light; the slowest is forgiving

then forgetting. The seal gnaws a hole in the sea ice,
sunlight flashes on a million emerald cod flitting below.

Captured neutrinos flare pale blue; embryos float
in drops of glistening saline fluid and await their fate.

Quartz cuvettes filled with seawater and lavender dye
slide into a spectrometer, colors the human eye

cannot see fan out inside a box. Please, come in a dream,
there is no limit to what I want to know. I wait here.

 

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