An Afterglow Candidate

R.S. Mitchell

“At 03:34:30 UT, the Swift Burst Alert Telescope
(BAT) triggered and located GRB [gamma ray burst]
060218. . . . Swift slewed immediately to the burst. . . .
There is an indication of an afterglow candidate. . . .”

Think of those days of earthly incarnation
as a fixed point in human history
but also a cosmic epiphany,
like a burst of gamma radiation.

Picture an ancient nova in the night,
violent illumination, and long after,
a charge like a snowflake whisping the sensor
of an orbital gamma satellite.

That was how it hit me, but when I swung
to look for an afterglow candidate,
there was none. Much too faint for my design
was love’s latent lumen lit among
devoted souls who come to kneel and wait
for a candidate made of bread and wine.