“Nebula Girl Is Born” by Tamsin Hopkins

Image by Terry Standefer

I light a fire
although it is no longer cold.
I don’t even empty the grate
but push the ash aside,
so the fire can breathe.
I make a nest for anthracite
with twigs I have been drying
and, as the fire takes, I hear


– so I look.

It’s getting hot and I can’t quite see
– so, hand on chimney breast,
one foot in the hearth,
I dip my head and squint.
First my hair is drawn,
then my forehead, eyes and nose;
then shoulders and the rest has to follow.
I am a film going out of focus,
a cartoon girl,
Mary Poppins in reverse,
no umbrella.

I travel through, like
a worm hole, like
a sooty birth canal
to a new dimension.
Instead of coming out the top
of the chimney pot with a satisfying pop,

I am atoms, girl ash,
dispersing particles, each with an eye
that looks down on my house. I float
towards the interstellar spaces I will fill.

I am a new nebula.


Tamsin Hopkins writes short stories and poetry. Sand Tranny And Other River Stories, is due out in February 2016 with Cinnamon Press. She is currently working on a poetry collection.

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