Elegy for the Stars That Will Never Die

by Murielle P. Shallbetter

There just isn’t enough time.
The spaces that come up in between
the spaces will push us all too far apart
long before you cool into a cubic
lattice structure of carbon.

You’ll never stop being a star
to become a diamond.

Oh, white dwarfs, you’ll always
be too hot to hold, and I and no one
will last long enough to see you change, ever.
You’ll never spin fast enough to create waves,
or tear holes in the ether,
except there isn’t any ether to tear in space.
It never existed, never could have existed.
It will never hold you, until you cool from
a white dwarf into a black dwarf.
Entropy will stop you first.

The ether will never sit with you until
the white burning heart of the star you’ve become
and you can finally close your eyes and die.


Murielle Parkinson Shallbetter is a college student studying physics teaching. She works at a planetarium answering little kids’ questions about black holes and stars. She lives in Utah with her husband and two cats.

From the Author
Jillian Weise’s and James Blish’s writing explores questions about the universe and how it relates to humans. They try to bring the unfamiliar closer in a straightforward and honest way. They play with emotions and what it means to be human in a way I find very compelling. The speakers in my poems have a lot of strong emotions and unresolved feelings about the universe they live in.

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