writer in residence

Laura Theis

writer in residence

look up: here I am my love
can you see me waving?
no of course not all you see is
a pale oval in your sky
but remember it’s the only map
you need to find me now

I write to you at least I try
black ink on moonstone
white chalk on lunar rock
it’s not going well today
the writing
I keep looking down

I think of you but seeing our old home’s glow
blue and calm
my thoughts drift to your astronaut wife and how
you left her for my sake though maybe she’s the one
who knew how to leave you already
having had all this practice in rockets and ships

and what I am wondering is whether
maybe it was because she loved
each minuscule piece of stardust
a little bit more than you?
forgive me you never wanted to be left behind
like a satellite again

I know you thought you would be safe
with me safe from all the heartache and I’m sorry
I’m trying to make sense of my coming here
I’m trying to make sense of how tides work
did you know we used to explain lunacy with the idea
that our brains are mostly water?

did you know that since I’m the first writer in residence
there is no library here yet?
I could only find the driest reading materials – manuals and such
except one beautiful book about the cosmos
but I can’t recommend it
to readers who don’t like to be reminded of their irrelevance

yesterday I finished a chapter on the timeline of our future
now I know that 5 billion years from now the sun will expand and expand
until it has dwarfed the meaning of the word red giant by which time
the moon will spiral into the earth and – this is the fun bit –
they will both fall fall fall
into the sun: star-crossed lovers united at last

I am writing to tell you this
black ink on moonstone
white chalk on lunar rock
look up

_______________

Laura Theis grew up in a place in Germany where each street bears the name of a mythical creature or fairy tale character and now lives in Oxford with her little demon dog. Her short stories, songs, radio plays, and poetry have been broadcast and published in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, and the U.S.

Her new work appears in Strange Horizons, The London Reader, About Place Journal, Rise Up Review, Enchanted Conversations, Briars Lit and in print anthologies from Live Canon, Hammond House, Curtis Bausse, Allitera, and Three Drops Press. Laura gained a Distinction in the Mst Creative Writing at Oxford University and was awarded the 2017 AM Heath Prize, the 2018 Hammond House International Literary Award for Poetry, ​and the 2018 Short Story Prize by Curtis Bausse. Her work has been shortlisted for the 2018 Yeovil Prize for Poetry, the 2018 Live Canon International Poetry Award, as well as the 2018 Frome Festival Short Story Competition. Her website is http://lauratheis.weebly.com

Editors’s Note: The lines “black ink on moonstone/ white chalk on lunar rock” are what drove the image for this poignant poem.  I was deeply moved about how some things are black and white, like unconditional love and death. The Youtube “How to draw the moon” (Circle Line Art School) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBbIyjT60uk is superimposed with calligraphy.

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