Two Poems by Alicia Sometimes



If we assume we’ve arrived:

we stop searching, we stop developing

proud pulsars


of massive stars

collapsing into

a neutron star

strobing supernova

spherical and dense

the size of a bustling city

more mass than our sun

beams of electromagnetic radiation

whirling from its magnetic poles

recurring signals – palpitating refrains from space

– first observed in 1967

by Jocelyn Bell Burnell

and Antony Hewish –`

Someone takes a photo of student Burnell:

Look happy dear, you’ve just made a discovery!

in 1974 Hewish receives

a Nobel Prize in Physics

(alongside Martin Ryle)

millisecond pulsars can siphon matter

and momentum from its companion

Burnell wins other weighty awards

an abundance of all her significant work

she donates a substantial sum to further

those who are most often ignored in science—

in hope they strive becoming physics researchers

pulsars radiating light

in multiple wavelengths




We’re keeping an invisible chart

delineating the days between every


face to face conversation. We begin

to get creative in confinement: turn 


ourselves into maple origami, fashion 

hammocks out of blankets, craft vessels 


from old vinyl. Shape bread into words.

Invert every room. We are undergoing


lasting transformations. It’s impossible

listening to Charles Mingus standing 


still. You just want to scoop yourself up

and parachute from on top of the house


as sonorous notes chase you, freefalling.

Each breath outside becomes triumphant.


Anything to nurture the fierce yearning

the longing for touch, even predictability.


We reach out and deliver daisies and cake.

Envelopes with wine red pencil marks. Trick


cards with faces. We stretch out our ears into

the afternoon sun listening to the wattlebird.


They sing in sparkling paragraphs. No

thought or care of yesterdays or tomorrows


or any afterlife. But we do. Always 

carrying this extended memory with us. 


Constructing our own symphonies

of everyone’s shared experiences –


united tapestry of single notes


Poems Alice Sometimes

Alicia Sometimes is a writer and broadcaster. Her poems are published in Best Australian Science Writing, Best Australian Poems, Meanjin, Griffith Review and more. She is director and co-writer of the science-poetry planetarium shows, Elemental and Particle/Wave. Her TedxUQ talk about the passion of combining art with science can be viewed here: Website:

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