My mother has outlived Lieutenant Uhura
by six months and an English summer
although she could never compete in astrophysics
or the hailing frequencies between green-
goddesses and the barrel-chested captain
Uhura kissed just once under duress
although it was always Officer Spock
she really held the line for – my mother, now
nonagenarian, still recalls the formulae
for salt and water, symbols for silver
and gold, like the wedding ring
she lately misplaced. A female chemist
in the 1950s was a rare and charming thing.
The carbon-based life forms you find in time
and space never last as long as your stars.
All those miniskirts and mustard jumpsuits
jiving like particles in a placenta, my mother –
unafraid of ridicule, unafraid of war,
holding her own in the heart’s high beam.