Night Vision by Steve Rapp

Night Vision

A hundred years ago,
        Under the sand and stone
        Of the Valley of the Kings,
                They found a body
                Covered in a mask of gold,
                        Inside a golden coffin,
                        Inside a quartzite tomb,
                                With stars painted
                                On a cobalt blue ceiling
                                        More than three
                                        Thousand years before.
Deep under ground,
Laboratories search
                                        For the unseeable
                                        Substance of the universe.
Each second, stars send
Trillions of neutrinos through
                                        Earth’s solid iron core
                                        Without touching a single atom.
Yet, one in many millions
Collides with matter,
                                        Pushing electrons faster
                                        Than the speed of light,
Producing a momentary
Luminous blue cone.

Half a mile under Yorkshire,
Set in a band of translucent salt,
        Inside a net of copper wires,
        Inside a stainless steel shed,
                A cylinder of Halon gas
                Sits hoping to catch
                        The cosmic wind,
                        The faint blue twinkle
                                Of stardust ground
                                Inconspicuously small.

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Steve Rapp’s poetry first appeared in his book, Aleph Bet Yoga, Embodying the Hebrew Letters For Physical and Spiritual Well-Being (Jewish Lights, 2002). Steve has authored three volumes of poetry: Double Chai Quilt (2016); An Ancient Face (2017); and L’Escargot Dort: The Snail Sleeps (2018). Steve has been an active member of the New England Poetry Club since 2017.

Editor’s Comments: Valley of the Kings is also known as the Valley of the Gates of the Kings. The poem is likely referring to the tomb of Nefertari Merytmut where it’s described that the “ceilings throughout are painted deep blue and decorated with yellow stars.” Or perhaps the tomb is that of Ramasses IV

In a hypernova, the star completely destroys itself in this type of supernova. Read more about supernovae in general

Image Credit: Abstract supernova (wallpaperaccess.com)