Michael J. Leach – A New Kind of Coalescence

Michael J. Leach is a statistician, epidemiologist, and poet with a passion for combining science and art. He works as a Senior Lecturer at Monash University. Michael’s poems reside in Cordite, Meniscus, the Medical Journal of Australia, the British Journal of Medical Practitioners, Plumwood Mountain, Pangyrus, the Antarctic Poetry Exhibition, Consilience, GRAVITON, and elsewhere. His poetry has been anthologised in One Surviving Poem (ICOE Press, 2019), No News (Recent Work Press, 2020), and Still You (Wolf Ridge Press, 2020). Michael’s debut poetry collection—a science- and health-themed chapbook—is forthcoming from Melbourne Poets Union. He lives in Bendigo, Australia.


A New Kind of Coalescence

A blip
punctuates
the scientific silence.

A split-second signal
has just been detected
by LIGO 1 & Virgo 2.

Four low-frequency ripples
in the far-reaching fabric of spacetime
have successfully traveled

an astronomical distance
of 150 billion trillion km
over seven billion years—half

the age of our universe.
Powerful, primordial gravitational
waves have undulated

from their point of origin—
a place & time
of cosmic cataclysm.

An intermediate-mass black hole
equating 150 solar masses 3
has formed

from the fiery fusion
of a couple of black holes
in the forbidden range of masses.

Two radiantly haloed singularities 4
once spiralled into one another
amidst the solitude of space.


1. LIGO is the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. This observatory houses an interferometer—an instrument designed to detect gravitational waves.
2. Virgo is a type of interferometer—an instrument designed to detect gravitational waves.
3. A solar mass is the mass of Earth’s sun—approximately 2,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg.
4. A singularity is the centre of a black hole. It contains an extremely high mass of matter within an infinitely small space.

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