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The Theory of Everything

J and I get to talking, I ask her how long she’s been an astronomer. It doesn’t seem
to me like something you just stumble into. There is a moment, she tells me, for all astronomers, a moment of realisation, or epiphany, I suppose. The moment when you first notice – really notice – the vast night sky above in all its wonder and mystery. How it hangs there like a question, an invitation, a vast, glittering sphinx’s mask. They call the moment “First Light.”
– Kit Brookman

The Theory Of Everything

hang there
like broken glass in night’s gut.
They are slick along the sky,
the night is choked with them as a city is with light.
The dead grass is made metal
by starlight,
my shadow batters the earth
when I had been ready to put it in my back pocket
for the night, but the brightness
demands it show its face.
The wind presses on
like a weary muscle.

The crunch of my boot
is that of a man
making himself real by noise.
I realise that I am borrowing
a stranger’s night, one that’s silent
and chill and marked by signs I don’t understand.
I half expect
to see my double wander out
like some shredded wraith
from between the silverskinned gums
and shake his head,
his hair slick with dew
and a face made deadly by secrets
I should not have tried to share.

is a bright toy
engraved, silver-shot on the blank lens.
Its rings are sharp as eyelashes,
they hang there perfectly,
like someone had dropped a spinning top
and left it whirring for a few billion years.

is a red razor it
splits night’s eyelid
and the starred iris pops, light
gushes in
and swallows the broken pieces of night
with blue-sky daylight.

Kit Brookman is a Sydney-based poet, actor and playwright.

The Astronomical Society of New South Wales was formed in 1954, and is the largest and most active astronomy club in the state.