Poetry from Meg Freer

Read More: A brief interview with Meg Freer

tick more slowly

(with respect for the 2017 Nobel Laureates in physics)

binary inspiral              merging black holes
waveforms      matched templates      chirps
ripples  of spacetime                stretch
compress
change             human hair

suspended mass vibrations      splitting the fringe
shaking                        barely feel
detector sees nothing

brighter and slower                 desert
under high vacuum     as the instrument evolves
scatter back in                                     seismic noise
isolation                      from earth
reduction in the shaking

never saw gravitational waves

have to know              the direction
at room temperature                quantum noise
radiation pressure
all just hard

stray light        little vertical spikes
all harmless

never saw gravitational waves

the improvement
inspired the dress design         many oscillations
change the shape         those curves
tiny      tiny      tiny
real potential here

merge              within the lifetime
problem                       for the future
normalized      the so-called chirp signal

it had been predicted              before
Galileo looked through a telescope for the first time

* found phrases, in sequence, from the lecture “Einstein, Black Holes, and Gravitational Waves”, given by Dr. Barry Barish, 2017 Nobel Laureate in Physics, March 5, 2018, Kingston, Ontario.

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Seeking Balance

Locked in the psychiatric ward
the patients may or may not
see Christmas lights this year,
or get to brush their hair,
but one has seen stigmata
on her toes.

She says alien life forms
drew wavy brown lines
on broccoli stems in her lunch
left on the floor of her room
where they allow nothing
that can be thrown.

She offers me the broccoli,
but I won’t eat it either.

When I won’t get her out of there,
she tells me who I am
with a streak of righteousness:
someone who is always busy
doing nothing of significance. […]


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A Wheelchair named Prudence

In the nursing home, a wheelchair
named Prudence confuses me,
until I realize the label is French:
prudence, “caution”, “take care”,
and I recall my friend named Prudence,
who did daring things only in private,
like flush her mother’s cigarettes,
took care of hurt plants and creatures,

lived with her mother in her old age,
cared for her until it became too much,
and Prudence had to move her
to a nursing home to learn how to live
with others, like Robert Fulghum’s crayons,
and the woman with her wheelchair
named Prudence must learn to live
in her crayon box of a home on the street […]


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Meg Freer grew up in Montana and now lives in Kingston, Ontario, where she teaches piano and enjoys running and photography. She has worked in book publishing, and her writing and photos have won awards both in North America and overseas. Poems and prose have been published in journals such as Young Ravens Literary Review, Ruminate, Eastern Iowa Review, COG and Rat’s Ass Review. In 2017 she won a fellowship and attended the Summer Literary Seminars in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.

“A Wheelchair Named Prudence,” “Seeking Balance,” and “Tick More Slowly” were runners-up in the 2019 Editor’s Reprint Award and appeared in Rat’s Ass Review, Vallum, and Science Fiction Poetry Association, respectively.

Read More: A brief interview with Meg Freer