A Gravitationally Collapsed Object

A Gravitationally Collapsed Object
Rita Chen

There’s a rip at the centre of me,
an old collapsed star that’s just
black hole and gravity now,
all my galaxies swirling slowly down its drain.

Is that what drew you in?
You’ve got a thing
for the ones who never smile?

The Devourer, I call it. The Black Dog.
It deforms space, time. Everything
twists towards the rip, I can’t aim anymore.
It swallows up word after word,
coins and rings and spoons,
leaving me with what’s left. I make do.
They don’t give names to black holes,
did you know that? Not like stars.

Yeah, I get how entropy works;
I’ve still got a lifetime
before it swallows me down. But
I feel like I’m always orbiting.
I think I want
a new sun.

They say that nothing
can escape the event horizon,
not even the speed of light.
So, then: you must be Nothing,
the way you stepped right up to its edge,
peered in, smiled at me over your shoulder —
and came back.

Hey, you.
How do you light up a room like that?
When you look at me,
can you see the stars in my eyes,
the hungry lacuna of my mouth?

Here. I hold out my hand:
an old, scratched-up key
snatched back from the event horizon.
If you want it, it’s for you.


At the end of all of us is
a place we don’t know,
a place beyond knowing.
What goes in never comes out.
What’s there —
What did you see at my horizon
that made you want to come back and
take my hand?

There’s a rip at the centre of me, a black hole
that ate ten years and my name, and
no light can escape it
but yours.

Rita Chen is a disabled cyborg witch who spends a lot of time worrying about the human condition. She lives with her partner, her fibromyalgia, and her autism in Edmonton, Alberta. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Uncanny, Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction, and Polu Texni. Find her on Twitter @expositionist.