Factory Floor

by Amanda Stovicek

We work slowly. Around the cauldron, we argue recipe. Unkempt mix of star stuff, flour of dust reaching six million solar masses, cloud plume not nakedly visible. All this will go inside we know. We argue quantity. Some shout precise: three point six billion to the tenth power metric tons, seventy percent hydrogen by mass. Others guesstimation: planetful, lung-breath of helium. Too many cooks, we are making this painstaking work. Agreement doesn’t come part way. We make concessions of formulaic discrepancy. We adjudicate particle mass. Our cauldron of cloud collapse and bundle of theoretics, the only tools we know. What brilliant stroke of luck if the recipe is right. Some of us come to this occupation by chance, others by meticulous calculation. We are all planetary spoons. Our nebula is a boiling pot. One shot of relativity and maybe we can radiate our star babies. Star seeds in the belly of cloud. We wander between stoves, black iron, the night shining into pockets of helium and hydrogen. We adjust our chefs hats and equivocate on protostars. Just a dash of interstellar radiation, fusion coring through our acquired star soup. Out of crumble and dust, the babies wink mirroring birth moment and black hole. Like father and sun, like violet and red, we link hands at accomplishments. We toss hats like graduates. We send out stellar babies from cauldron womb and breathe relief like sunshine. No elliptical hindrance on our galaxy, we are milky with stars. We can stave entropy.

Amanda Stovicek is a writer and teaching artist from Northeast Ohio. She is preoccupied with star formation and writing that resists. Her work has appeared in Us For President, Rubbertop Review, Jenny Magazine, and is forthcoming in The New Old Stock.