Beta Consequences

[The following is a scifi poem, inspired by an anthology of scifi poetry I read at Poets House in New York. It deals with the consequences of time dilation associated with close-to-the-speed-of-light travel (mediated by a factor commonly represented by “beta”), undertaken by people wishing to colonise an exoplanet.]

We said goodbye
when you were carried to the stars

I shed my tears
In silence
Alone
I shed my tears
In silence
Holding the child you didn’t know you left behind

I learnt to laugh
Imitating, at first, the laughter in your eyes
on an infant’s face

So what, I ask you, am I to do
Now that a fault in the starship
An unforeseen glitch
Brings you back to me
And to a son
Older than his father

– 2013-04-11T18:15
Poets House, New York