Methuselah star (HD 140283) is a yellow subgiant located in the constellation Libra. It is one of the oldest stars known. With an estimated age of 14.46 ± 0.8 billion years, the star appears older than the universe itself.
When the great city fell
it wasn’t into ruin
but into the black well of yesterday. Trapped
within a spyglass that could peek into the past,
out flowed floodwater from a storm stirring
for two million years. A single crack
from a failed sleight of hand,
like shackles designed to unfurl
underwater but stayed shut. Was it sorcery
or science? No traces left, no bones
for the sirens to nibble on. No fossils
from this crime scene. Centuries later
they would call it legend, call it
lesson – this arrogance
of Atlantis, of Babylon. Golden cities destined
for calamity. Their names used each time to justify
the air strikes, the rain
of bullets, the birth of bombs digging
basins deeper than the ocean floor. Another reason
to believe in a god mired in man’s hungry image.
What happened to their ghosts? Bereft of breath,
violently pulled into the past
by the gravity of the oldest of stars. Methuselah
whose heart pulsates light and loneliness –
the first of fission and visible things.
Would she have sung to those specters
of what her three thousand eyes witnessed?
How the universe started expanding
with longing. How planets learned the heavy syllables
of their names in earthquakes and hurricanes. How moons
would know to command tides
and lycanthropes. How each thrash of wave,
how every gnash of tooth, every animal call
was a knife that scraped at the firmament,
eager to find warmth. Chafe at each surface of space
for a room wide enough to call home.
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