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Sunday, March 13, 2022


by Rose Mary Boehm

I just read about it again, I saw
a video. Or two, or three.
TON 618 is the largest black hole in the known
universe and estimated at 66 billion solar masses…
these figures are beginning to be incomprehensible.
It’s hungry. About to gobble up whole worlds.
Is it hungry? Or is it just doing what black
holes do. A simple question of astrophysics.
I remember being hungry alright,
but that was about 80 years ago.
‘There is a war on, you know…’
The biggest black hole on this planet is hungry.
Is Putin just hungry or is it something that comes naturally,
a sickness that can’t be cured, a greed
that knows no satisfaction.
It seems as though my war was only yesterday.
And there, once more, tanks are rolling, fighter planes are strafing,
buildings are being bombed, whole families perish, the stench
of dead flesh under rubble will soon fill the streets.
The numbers again incomprehensible.
And—as in my memories—children will be looking for potato peels
thrown-away apple cores and sorrel in the field – if they make it that far.
We eat guineapigs in Peru—they say rats are acceptable. Siege food.
Another promise broken, another convoy
of refugees bombed.
I see old women on canvas bags and suitcases in the back
of trucks holding small children, the parents falling towards
the border, their feet working through the loamy earth
or tripping over ripped open asphalt.
Wasn’t there Kosovo? Syria? Afghanistan?
But so far away is almost incomprehensible.
The black hole has pulled us close. Pushing back,
will we be swallowed? Starving it, will it recede?
I am hungry for peace—or is this a thought too trite?

A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and four poetry collections to date, her work has been widely published, for the great part in US online and print journals.