Two Poems by Ananda Lima

"What I think about when I think about gravitational waves" & "Fall"

What I think about when I think about gravitational waves
I. Fabric

A pastel pattern of pink
and violet wild flowers
lightly outlined in thin charcoalf
on a sheet pegged to the clothesline
rippling in the wind over grass
a girthy woman
stretching out her arms
pinching the four clothespins off
one by one
to set the sheet free
But then she holds two corners
and as if whipping a fly
off the nose of a lion
she rids the fabric of motion
with one

II. Conference

The man in front
of the slide show said
you can see the earth
he said
jiggling like jello
he said
but don’t be afraid
he said
and I hadn’t been
until he said it
the earth
doesn’t really do this
he said
the effect
he said
is greatly
he means
I think
the animation
where said earth jiggles like jello
though the kind of Jello one might
find on a Pinterest board
for Earth Day
I googled
all things gravitational
Newton explains
it said
the tides
and I hoped
nobody ever knew
I had never thought
they needed
an explanation

III. Spacetime

All bodies move
to their natural place
The attraction
to the product
of their masses


by the distance
between them

Listen to their whisper in space

ripples in the fabric of their sheets
as two merge
into one

* “What I think about when I think of gravitational waves” was written as a reaction to the news of the detection of the sound Gravitational Waves (see and and

♦ ♦ ♦


down                                   the
    not                                      song
not             feather
         not                         rain
but               the                        dark
          tarry             weight
of                      the                   body
      to                                     gravel
by               gravity

Cats                            and                           dogs
               curious                      creatures
they                          are
                    possible                             casualties
residents                   keep
                            their                                       leashes
tight        on                            their                             beloved
            pugs,               may                   Sally B                  rest
                    in                                                 peace

An                       anchor
        says        it                  is         not
just                        any
                 kind,                      no
sparrows,                   no
         only                           grackles
and                         I                                  say
    there       are                    fucking                birds
               from                                the            sky

But                part           of              my                        outrage
      part                   of             my                  wonder
is                 faded                                      by                  familiarity
      not                            Hitchcock
                      not                                                     Poe
but          the             50                0                  0              birds
         that                       fell            before
on                another                         season
          another                    place
I                         had                                 forgotten
      as          if                       its                             name
had                     not                         been
                   ‘New                                         Roads’
but                                    ‘Macondo’
      a                   different                            disease
a              whole                      different                       type
         of                      epidemic

As                   I                    wait               for       people
                  in              hazmat       suits
     I                      am                           afraid
        of                              forgetting
but                     I                  am                                     more             afraid
                                         of             remembering
The                      premise                 of             duty
to                                             bigger                      catastrophes
               no               longer                   works:
      no                                         gravel
on                                that                           fall
        But                  it                    is                  impossible
not                                   to                    think
of                             Aleppo
      under                                       its       own     absurd

I                 try
           to               think
of                  time
           as                    an                         abstraction
and                   stars                above     the             clouds
              above                          the                                   birds
       as                         they                     see           us
                      as                               small
                                        as                              bees

* “Fall” was written as a response to news of birds falling dead at a neighborhood in Boston and in New Roads ( and


#414 used to think he was destined for the rose fields of Grasse. Musk ratios. Narcotic fumes. Extracting of the absolute. But he never learned French, was the thing.

To Live Forever

It’s easy for people to believe that the paths they chose happen coincidentally to be correct. Nobody scoffs at Methodists like a pastor born to Presbyterians. And it’s the same for professors in the Initiatives. They belittle their competitors because if either program succeeds the other will surely die.


This is my own work. These lab mice died of swollen, broken hearts